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Here’s what we know so far about B.C.’s COVID vaccine card and restaurants

Click to play video: 'Restaurants welcome simple vaccine passport system' Restaurants welcome simple vaccine passport system
Businesses who will have to enforce B.C.'s new vaccine passport system have been given a sneak peek how it will work. They say patrons of non-essential events will be able to show a printed or digital bar code with a piece of ID, and companies are welcoming the plan's simplicity. Kamil Karamali reports – Sep 3, 2021

Starting Sept. 13, everyone in B.C. will be required to provide proof of vaccination to access some events, services and businesses.

By that date, in order to access those spaces, everyone must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and by Oct. 24, be fully vaccinated.

One of the locations where proof will be required is indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars.

Here’s what we know so far about how the vaccine card will work.

It is applicable to everyone 12 years of age and older.

“It’s applicable to everybody. The only exceptions will be restaurants. If you want to go to a restaurant, any restaurant, and do takeout and take away, then we’re not going to require vaccination (cards),” Ian Tostenson, president/CEO of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, told Global News.

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“Take out and delivery is exempted, in-restaurant is not exempted and patios are not exempted.”

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B.C. restaurant industry considers asking province for security support with vaccine passport – Sep 1, 2021

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Tostenson said the app that is set to launch with the vaccination card will be used by the business community to scan people’s phones or a piece of paper to obtain proof of vaccination.

He said the public will be able to download their vaccination information to their phones and then it can be scanned at restaurants. There will also be an option for people to print out their vaccine card on a piece of paper.

“The thing they will have to do is show proof of vaccination, one way or another, and photo ID. So it looks like it will work well and we’re pretty happy about it.”

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At a fast-food restaurant, anyone sitting inside to eat will be required to be vaccinated.

“The objective of the program is to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Tostenson said.

“So it’s really clear, grab and go, no vaccination, if you’re going to stay in the restaurant and sit down, you’re going to have to show your vaccination card.”

Among concerns there might be some confrontations between employees and patrons over being asked to show proof of vaccination, Tostenson said he knows some restaurants are looking into hiring extra security for their workers.

“There’s going to be signage,” he added. “And I think that any reasonable person, whether they’re vaccinated or not, are going to see a sign that quite clearly says, ‘We are required by law to do this and if you don’t do it then we are breaking the law, so please be kind, please work with us’,”.

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Carl McCreath, president of operations for the Steamworks Restaurant Group, told Global News Friday he doesn’t have a lot of information yet about the vaccine card and how it will work in the restaurant industry.

He hopes that it is a quick and easy process for both restaurants and patrons.

“Any information we can get as soon as possible is really the message,” he said.

“We’re hoping everyone just stays calm and we can just get through it.”

Jeff Guignard, the executive director at Alliance of Beverage Licensees also said it is a tight timeline for restaurants and bars to get ready for the launch of this program on Sept. 13, but said they they are working as fast as they can.

“It is an easy-to-use system that is not very burdensome but we do ask for everyone to be patient,” he said.

When it comes to nightclubs, Guignard said they are hoping it will only be a small slowdown to check vaccine status at the doors.

“Staff is just doing what we’re legally ordered to do and we could lose our business if we don’t enforce this so if you object, write to your MLA, that’s the proper place for that discussion.”

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