Officials in British Columbia on Tuesday unveiled details about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine card system, which is set to go into effect later this month.
Starting on Sept. 13, B.C. residents will need to prove their vaccination status for a first dose and on Oct. 24 for two doses in order to dine at restaurants or attend gyms and ticketed events.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said residents will need to provide their personal health numbers, dates of birth and vaccination dates for their first and second doses to securely download their vaccine cards.
But what about visitors to the province who reside outside of B.C.?
People from other parts of Canada must show a vaccine record that is officially recognized by a province or territory as well as valid government photo ID, Henry said.
International travellers will need to provide the proof of immunization they used to enter Canada, such as the ArriveCAN app, along with their passport.
Henry also noted that members of the Canadian Armed Forces who were immunized through work can show their military ID and their vaccine card.
The province will provide businesses with a list of acceptable out-of-province vaccine records.
“We’ll have copies of those available for businesses on the business website so they know what they’re looking for as well as corresponding government photo ID,” Henry said.
“We’ve tried to make this as simple and as practical as possible to make it as easy as possible for those of us who are immunized to obtain the record, and for businesses to be able to efficiently scan them.”
While the card system may be less than ideal, Henry says it provides an alternative to stricter health measures.
“It gives us that opportunity to do things in a way that is far closer to what existed before the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
“I understand that people are tired and frustrated with COVID-19 and that we are concerned about what lies ahead and what might happen next. Right now, we need to focus on getting through this next phase. Let’s get angry at this virus, not at each other.”
Members of B.C.’s hospitality industry have expressed frustration at the extra resources required to enforce the proof-of-vaccination requirement.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said the province may be willing to provide some help.
“If there are additional costs or challenges with the vaccine card, we stand ready to assist both frontline workers and businesses,” he said.
Here is a list of where vaccine cards will be required in B.C.:
- Indoor ticketed sporting events
- Indoor concerts
- Indoor theatre/dance/symphony events
- Restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
- Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and outdoor dining)
- 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
— with files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press
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