Proof of Vaccination No Longer Mandatory in BC

Vax Card 2

Proof of immunization against COVID-19 is no longer required to access restaurants, theatres and indoor events in B.C. as the province lifts its vaccine card rules.

As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the B.C. Vaccine Card, which has been in use since September, is no longer necessary unless an individual business chooses to keep using it. Proof of immunization is still required for federally regulated travel, like on airplanes, however.

Other provinces ended their vaccine card programs much earlier than B.C. Ontario lifted its requirement in early March while Alberta lifted its passport in February. Quebec's vaccine passport, which was more strict than B.C.'s and was used to access box stores and liquor shops, was phased out in mid-March.

But earlier this week, B.C. health officials confirmed the end of the vaccine card program locally.

Dr. Bonnie Henry also gave a modelling presentation that suggested there has been a slight increase in COVID-19 cases, as tracked by wastewater testing in the Lower Mainland.

With increases in activity, more travel and a slightly more transmissible variant, Henry said Tuesday officials "know we are likely to see a slight increase over time in the next month to two months and then a gradual decreasing again."

Even so, Henry said some measure are "no longer necessary all the time," including the vaccine card, which she said "was very effective at supporting people to get vaccinated."

Businesses have been preparing for the end of vaccine card requirements, with some choosing to put other safety measures back in place.

"There'll be enhanced cleaning, sanitizers. A lot of restaurants probably won't go back to menus. It will be QR codes, much more emphasis on patios," said Ian Tostenson with the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.

With more than 90 per cent of eligible British Columbians vaccinated against COVID-19, Tostenson said each person would have to assess their own risk, adding it was Dr. Bonnie Henry and not the association that pushed for the change.

"The chances of you being in a restaurant with an unvaccinated person are pretty small in British Columbia," he said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan