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Businesses with high COVID-19 transmission risk should require vaccines: B.C.’s top doctor

Click to play video: 'Should B.C. businesses like nightclubs require vaccines to enter?' Should B.C. businesses like nightclubs require vaccines to enter?
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers a reporter's questions about the rights of businesses to require vaccines as an incentive to enter the premises. Henry says indoor crowded environments are still the place where health officials are seeing clusters and outbreaks of the coronavirus. – Jul 27, 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is encouraging owners of nightclubs and other businesses with high risk of COVID-19 transmission to require vaccination for entry.

British Columbia will not require vaccines for public services, but private businesses can if they wish.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Henry backs proof of COVID-19 vaccination for businesses' Dr. Henry backs proof of COVID-19 vaccination for businesses
Dr. Henry backs proof of COVID-19 vaccination for businesses – Jul 27, 2021

“I’ve been talking to business about that,” Henry told a news conference on Tuesday where officials announced a new immunization plan aimed at those who are still only partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.

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“We’ve had a couple of outbreaks in nightclubs (with) unvaccinated people. And if I was running a nightclub, I’d want to make sure that my staff are protected. And yes, we absolutely can say, ‘To come in here, you have to be immunized,’ and that gives people the level of comfort that they’re in a safer environment.”

Click to play video: 'Province launches Vax for BC to boost immunization rates' Province launches Vax for BC to boost immunization rates
Province launches Vax for BC to boost immunization rates – Jul 27, 2021

She also mentioned fairs and festivals with indoor elements as places where operators may want to require vaccination.

“These are indoor, crowded environments where there’s poor ventilation. The clusters and the outbreaks we’re seeing right now are those in environments where people who are unvaccinated are coming together,” she said.

“They’re in a wedding, there’s been a funeral, there’s been nightclubs. There’s been indoor settings where people are gathering, and unvaccinated people introduce the virus, and right now we don’t have enough people with that full protection. It can still spread.”

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Health officials target nearly 1 million eligible British Columbians for vaccine' COVID-19: Health officials target nearly 1 million eligible British Columbians for vaccine
COVID-19: Health officials target nearly 1 million eligible British Columbians for vaccine – Jul 27, 2021

The one place where vaccinations will be required is international travel. Last month, the federal government announced that fully vaccinated Canadians can skip quarantine requirements when returning to the country.

Meanwhile, the Surrey Board of Trade has called on the provincial and federal governments to create a consistent set of guidelines about vaccine requirements.

Read more: Surrey Board of Trade calls for widely used ‘proof of immunization’ for travel and businesses

Also on Tuesday, the province released data that showed that from June 15 to July 15, 95 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the province were among people either not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

Henry also encouraged people to ask guests coming to their homes if they have been vaccinated.

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“I know, myself, I’ve had people over to my house, but only the people who are vaccinated. I’m not ready yet to have people over who aren’t.”

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