VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Businesses will now be checking for proof of immunization across B.C., with only COVID-19 vaccinated people able to enter certain settings as part of the vaccine passport systems.
More than two million people have already downloaded the new B.C. Vaccine Card, but until Sept. 26 any proof of one dose of a vaccine will be accepted. Along with showing you had at least one dose, adults will also need to show valid government-issued photo ID.
For example, the wallet-sized immunization card received at a vaccine clinic can be used in place of the official QR code for the next two weeks. That’s because the province has allowed for a grace period, to ensure that everyone is up to speed. Following that period, the QR code system will be the only accepted form of proof in order to enter certain businesses, events, or classes.
By Oct. 24, you must be fully vaccinated to access some events, services, and businesses.
The card is part of a provincial health order, and anyone found to be violating the order could be ticketed $230 or $575, depending on the violation. Any event organizer or business owner found to be in violation of the new vaccine card could face a $2,300 fine.
Where you need to show your card:
- Indoor ticketed sporting events
- Indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events
- Licensed restaurants and restaurants that offer table service (indoor and patio dining)
- Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and patio dining)
- Nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres
- Gyms, exercise facilities/studios and recreation facilities
- Businesses offering indoor group exercise
- Indoor adult group and team sports for people 19 years old or older
- Indoor organized events with 50 or more people. For example: Wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences and workshops
- Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery, art and choir
- Post-secondary on-campus student housing
Where you don’t:
- Grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies
- Unlicensed restaurants that don’t offer table service, like fast food, coffee shops and takeout
- Local public transportation (BC Transit, TransLink, BC Ferries)
- Salons, hairdressers, barbers
- Hotels, resorts, pools, cabins and campsites
- Unless it is a setting or event covered by the PHO order. For example a licensed hotel restaurant, wedding reception or conference
- Banks and credit unions
- Retail and clothing stores
- Public libraries
- Food banks and shelters
- Escape rooms, laser tag, indoor paint ball, arcades and bowling alleys (if they are unlicensed or don’t offer table service)
- Post-secondary on-campus cafeterias
- Worship services
- Indoor youth recreational sport for people 19 years old or younger
- Before and after school programs for K to 12 students
- Student events and activities in K to 12 public and independent schools
- Indoor organized events with less than 50 people, except adult sport
- To vote on Sept. 20 in the federal election
How to get your card:
If you don’t have the BC Services Card app you can sign up through the Health Gateway portal, or through the government’s website. All you need is your date of birth, personal health number, and the date of your vaccination.
Another option is to call the Provincial Vaccine Line at 1-833-838-2323 to get your printed card mailed to you. The province urges callers to be patient, as they are expecting high volumes.
Don’t forget your ID
As the first hours of the new Vaccine Card took effect, a Vancouver restaurant popular for its breakfast menu had to deny entry to some customers. Yolks on Broadway says customers were not opposed to the vaccine card, but unfortunately had forgotten their government-issued ID and as a result were not allowed to dine. Host Rosalind Gorrie says they left without much fuss, calling it “as easy as pie.”
“So far people have been really excited to show it. We’ve only encountered someone who was not fully vaccinated and they were happy to find somewhere else to dine today,” Gorrie said.
There was concern that staff had not had enough time to get used to the app and scanning the QR codes, but Gorrie says it wasn’t tricky at all.
“People should really just not be afraid. I know I was a little nervous to start today but I think it’s going to lead to a lot of positive changes,” she said about the glitch-free first hours of the rollout.
As the vaccine card comes into effect Monday, protests are planned across the country by a controversial anti-vaxx group. The group is the same responsible for thousands of people gathering on Sept. 1 outside Vancouver General Hospital, forcing several immunocompromised patients to walk through the massive crowd on their way to appointments such as chemotherapy.
There were also family members who were delayed in saying goodbye to their loved ones, according to Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix who spoke out against the protest.
Monday afternoon’s protest was planned to be held in front of the hospital again, but on Friday organizers changed the location to Vancouver City Hall, which is just a few blocks from the hospital and care centres.
There are other B.C. locations where protests are planned, including the B.C. Legislature, the Kelowna Interior Health building, and the Kamloops Courthouse.