B.C. extends vaccine passport to end of June, youth tournaments allowed next week

B.C.'s requirement to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 at bars, restaurants and events could remain in effect until June. Meantime, youth sports tournaments are allowed to resume. This update comes as hospitals are facing the greatest pressure of the pandemic. Liza Yuzda reports.

Proof of vaccination will likely be required in B.C. at restaurants, bars, concerts, and indoor organized events until the end of June, though kids will be allowed to take part in sport tournaments starting next week.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the vaccination card has been extended until June 30, however, it could be lifted earlier, should the COVID-19 situation change in B.C.

“The B.C. vaccine card program is specifically designed to address and mitigate those risks that allow us to keep certain businesses and activities open during the period of the pandemic,” she said Tuesday. “As we move through this period, it will, I expect, no longer be necessary.”

The vaccine passport is required for everyone aged 12 and up at cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars, nightclubs, casinos, movie theatres, gyms, and other businesses. Proof of vaccination is also required at weddings, funeral receptions, and organized parties.

However, it’s not required at grocery stores, coffee shops, fast-food establishments, on transit, at hair salons, libraries, places that offer essential services, and some other specific locations.

Meanwhile, Henry says youth sports tournaments in B.C. can once again take place as of Feb. 1, though adult tournaments still won’t be allowed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked why kids will be allowed to participate in such tournaments but not adults, Henry said the decision was made after weighing out risks and benefits.

“Adult tournaments at this time of the year tend to be a very important social event. That is, of course, a riskier situation,” she said.

“We know that sports has a different place for youth, in terms of growth and development and future opportunities. We have always prioritized making sure that young people are able to access … these important aspects in their lives, particularly at that age.”

Tournaments are defined by the province as “single or multi-day events where three or more teams compete against each other outside of regular league play.”

On Tuesday, the province reported there are 985 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C., little changed from 987 on Monday. However, there are 144 people in the ICU, up from 129 the day before.

One death was recorded Tuesday, in the Fraser Health region.

Looking ahead, Henry says she expects we will have a “gentler summer.”

“Having said that, this virus is changing and it’s spreading very rapidly in many countries around the world. We don’t know what the next strain is going to be like — whether it willbe milder or more severe, whether it will be more or less transmissible or able to evade the vaccine or previous infection,” she said.

“But I do expect, from history, that we’ll see different patterns over time and that it should, as we have more and more immunity … protect us globally from having more severe strains emerge.”

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Among eligible British Columbians aged five and up, the province says 89.6 per cent have received at least one vaccine dose and 83.6 per cent have received their second. it also says 41.3 per cent of people aged 12 and up have received a third dose.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says about half of kids aged five to 11 in B.C. have received their first vaccine doses, adding nearly 30,000 invitations for second doses will be sent out this week.

There are 63 B.C. health-care facilities with active outbreaks:

Long-term Care:

  • Fraser Health: New Vista Care Centre, George Derby Centre, Evergreen Baptist Care Society, Hilton Villa Seniors Community, Mayfair Senior Living + Care, MSA Manor, Menno Hospital, Buchanan Lodge, St. Michael’s Centre, Eden Care Centre, Lakeshore Care Centre, Baillie House, Bevan Lodge
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: Evergreen House, Louis Brier Home and Hospital
  • Interior Health: Sun Pointe Village, Lakeview Lodge, Hamlets in Vernon, Brocklehurst Gemstone, Heritage Square, Village at Smith Creek, Westview Place, Pinegrove Care Centre, Mariposa Gardens, Joseph Creek Care Village, Hamlets at Penticton, Mount Ida Mews
  • Island Health: Amica Douglas House, Eden Gardens, Glenwarren Lodge, Kiwanis Village Lodge, Saanich Peninsula Hospital – long-term care, Oyster Harbour, Dufferin Place, Beacon Hill Villa, Salvation Army Sunset Lodge, James Bay Care Centre, Luther Court, Veterans Memorial Lodge, Sunset Lodge, Sidney Care Home, Eagle Ridge Manor, Sidney All Care, Sunrise of Victoria, Comox Valley Seniors Village, Fir Park Village, The Summit, Parkwood Court, Echo Village, Mount St. Mary Hospital, Arrowsmith Lodge and Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence

Acute Care:

  • Fraser Health: Surrey Memorial Hospital, Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Langley Memorial Hospital, Laurel Place, Burnaby Hospital, Peace Arch Hospital, CareLife Fleetwood, Queen’s Park Care Centre
  • Interior Health: Kelowna General Hospital
  • Island Health: Royal Jubilee Hospital

Assisted or Independent Living:

  • Interior Health: Crestview Village

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