B.C. introduces COVID-19 vaccine passport card
Posted August 23, 2021 1:14 pm.
Last Updated August 23, 2021 7:09 pm.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Starting Sept. 13, the province has announced that vaccine passports will be required in order to access non-essential businesses.
One dose will be required to enter places like indoor concerts, sporting events, movies, and anywhere there is non-discretionary activities by mid-September.
By Oct. 24, only fully immunized people will be able to attend these settings, including indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos and indoor organized events, like conferences and weddings.
Full list of settings that will require proof of vaccination:
- Indoor ticketed sporting events
- Indoor concerts
- Indoor theatre/dance/symphony events
- Restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
- Night clubs
- Movie theatres
- Fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
- Businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
- Organized indoor events (eg. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
- Discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities
“Providing advanced notice of this measure to stop the spread, keep people safe, and increase confidence will allow those who have not yet got their vaccine to take the necessary action to do so immediately,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
There will be no exceptions.
“This is a temporary measure that’s getting us through a risky period where we know that people who are unvaccinated are a greater risk of both contracting and spreading this virus,” B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “If there are those rare people who have a medical reason that they can’t be immunized – these are discretionary events, so they will not be able to attend those events through this period of high risk.”
The vaccine certificate system will limit where unvaccinated people will be allowed to go, and follows a push from restaurants and other businesses for the government to provide consistent rules.
“If you have the technology, and a vast majority of people do on their phone, you can download this information and apply it to any venue you want to enter,” B.C. Premier John Horgan said.
The premier says they consulted with other jurisdictions ahead of the decision.
There are some settings that do not qualify under the new measures.
“Doesn’t apply to retail and grocery stores, areas where we don’t see a lot of transmission, and where we have other measures in place and they are essential services. What it applies to is those discretionary those social events, the arts, sports, the things that we want to need to get back to,” Henry said, explaining why the province picked certain settings.
She says religious settings are not included under the order.
“We’ve worked really closely with the faith-based groups across the province over this past very long a year and a half and we have in place guidelines that they are using to help support faith based services coming back to some in person and hybrids and there’s a lot of work that’s been done with the communities to make sure that they can continue to operate safely and we’ve seen that as being effective,” Henry said.
Youth recreational sport is also excluded from the list.
Q how long will this vax card requirement be in place?
DBH – intent is to January, reassessing month by month throughout the fall.
So that means those who can’t or won’t be vaccinated can’t access a number of places between Sept 13 and at least January.#bcpoli @NEWS1130 #covid19
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) August 23, 2021
The Alliance of Beverage Licensees is among a group of industry stakeholders that met with the province ahead of the decision.
Jeff Guignard spoke with NEWS 1130 ahead of the decision, saying he understands it is complex and can be divisive, but at the end of the day it is a safety concern.
“There’s about 190,000 people who work in the hospitality industry every day and about 14,000 businesses out there, and they have a right to be protected and not have their business shut down by public health because of a COVID outbreak that somebody else brought in with them,” Guignard.
Dr. Henry admits there may be some pushback, and that bylaw officers and environmental health officers will be there to support businesses in enforcing these measures.
B.C. is only the second province in the country to make the move.
Quebec’s vaccine passport is expected to go into effect Sept. 1, and will allow fully vaccinated Quebecers to participate in non-essential activities.
The passport will be based on a digital QR codes that are issued upon vaccination an will apply to festivals, large gatherings, bars, restaurants, and gyms.
Dr. Henry says B.C. is working to ensure that people coming from out of province are able to show proof of immunization.
“We will have the ability for them to show their proof of a vaccine and it will be compatible with Quebec and with other provinces and what, what their proof of immunization or their immunization record is. So we have a process for that as well as for international travellers who all right now have to show their proof of immunization using the ArriveCAN app. So we’re working with the federal government to make sure we’ll be aligned with that as well,” Henry said.
As of Monday morning, more than 75 per cent of eligible British Columbians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Close to 85 per cent have received at least one dose of a shot.
With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Denise Wong