B.C.'s "vaccine passport" now in effect


Sunday evening provided the last opportunity for unvaccinated British Columbians to dine in at most restaurants, go to the movies or workout at the gym.

Starting today (Sep 13), proof of vaccination will be required to access most non-essential businesses.

The proof of vaccination requirement is something many hospitality businesses welcome.

“I think we are cautiously happy,” said Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association.

“Because the alternative to not doing this, is the chances of having to close and having to lay off our staff.”

There have already been large-scale protests against the vaccine passport, including one targeting Kelowna and Vancouver General Hospitals.

That’s left some businesses worrying that they’ll be targeted.

“We are concerned about how this is going to roll out, right?” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees.

“It’s a quick turnaround and it’s a very contentious issue for a lot of folks … If you’re upset about the rules, please stay home and order some takeout. There’s no scenario where it’s acceptable to go yell at a 25-year-old host or hostess in a pub or restaurant. They’re doing what they’re ordered to do by the provincial government.”

In social media groups for those opposed to the new requirements, some have suggested people order takeout over the phone and then not show up to pay for it as a way to protest restaurants that comply with the proof of vaccination requirement.

“Tomorrow we’re thinking about the guest experience and making this really awesome for people,” said Tostenson. “And now we’re having to put another thought in our minds in terms of people who want to order food and not pay for it. Like, how ridiculous is that?”

He went on to suggest restaurants not accept large phone orders from customers they don’t know for the first few days after the new rules take effect.

During a May 25, 2021 news conference with Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix, Dr. Henry told reporters, "The virus has shown us there are inequities in our society that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, and there is no way we will recommend inequities be increased by the use of things such as vaccine passports."

"I do think it will be something necessary to support international travel, and that is something we're working with our colleagues in the Public Health Agency and at the federal level to make sure Canadian have access to travel in the same way other countries do as well. "It would not be my advice that we have any sort of vaccine passport within British Columbia for services in B.C."

So far, more than 1.7 million British Columbians have accessed their vaccine card online.

-- with files from CTV News --