The provincial government is promising to get tough with those who refuse to get vaccinated, but it’s leaving it up to private businesses to enforce the new legislation.
A vaccine passport program comes into effect Sept. 13 for movies, restaurants, ticketed sports events and other indoor group activities. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new measures, citing statistics that show 90 per cent of new coronavirus cases are in people who haven’t been fully vaccinated.
The B.C. Vaccine Card will be needed to show a first dose of vaccine as of Sept. 13, with a second dose requirement as of Oct. 24, for places such as restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and high-intensity fitness classes. The proof of vaccination will also be required for organized indoor events such as weddings, parties, conferences and workshops. The passports will not be needed for grocery stores, medical services and other essential services.
But the province’s retail and restaurant sector already have their hands full trying to enforce the province’s new mask mandate.
Police were called to a Port Alberni restaurant last week after a patron got into a confrontation with staff at the front counter over not wearing a mask. The man was asked to leave and became verbally aggressive and abusive.
“The suspect initially left the business only to return shortly after,” BC RCMP Media Relations Officer Sgt. Chris Manseau said. “He began to urinate on the floor directly in front of the till, much to the shock and screams of staff and the customers.”
The man left the business before he could be apprehended, and the RCMP have released a photo of him in the hopes someone will identify him.
As of Aug. 25, B.C.’s provincial health officer mandated that masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout the province to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and its variants, including in restaurants, pubs and bars unless seated.
Premier Horgan advised affected businesses to call police if there is a confrontation with a customer refusing to provide proof of a vaccination, but many restaurants and other business owners are wary of confrontations over the new requirements.
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