Vaccine certificates: B.C. restaurant workers worried about possible hostile customers

With B.C.'s vaccine certificate being implemented soon, some front-line workers are concerned about dealing with possible hostile customers opposed to the system.

The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association says it's considering asking for government help to hire security guards to enforce the vaccine mandate that will be effective Sept. 13.

Under the mandate, B.C. residents will be required to show proof they've received at least a first dose of vaccine to dine at restaurants, attend ticketed sporting events, go to the movies or do a variety of other discretionary activities.

By Oct. 24, residents will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before entering such venues and events.

"We're doing the vaccine card to allow businesses to stay open in these challenging conditions," Health Minister Adrian Dix said earlier this week. "We're doing the vaccine card, of course, to encourage immunization."

Businesses and residents are still waiting for details on the vaccine card system, but there's already unease from some in the restaurant industry.

"We're starting to see the agitated and the minority trying to start to pick some fights … we are wanting to be cautious," said Ian Tostenson from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Tostenson pointed to an incident in Port Alberni when a customer reportedly urinated on the counter of a Dairy Queen after being told he had to wear a mask.

"It really raised the issue that between the door and the counter, there's really nothing to filter an angry customer coming in," he said.

Tostenson said some fast-food restaurants are thinking of closing their dining rooms or hiring security to keep staff safe. Closing a dining room could impact a restaurant financially, however.

"It could cost that restaurant $80,000 in sales in a month because the dining room still represents about 50 per cent of their sales. Do they have any room in their budget to pay for it? Probably not, they make small margins," he said.

Tostenson said it's expected issues will be rare, but that businesses will look to government for support if they happen. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan