As of Monday, people attending restaurants, indoor sporting events, movie theatres and a range of other non-essential services must show proof of vaccination to enter.
It’s prompted concerns from industries such as the hospitality sector that their front-line staff will be left to enforce the rules, said Securiguard president Robin Chakrabarti.
“The demand for security professionals has gone up, we’ve received numerous enquiries form existing clients and prospective clients from them about helping them to manage their vaccine ambassador programs,” he said.
“It’s a variety of types of businesses, diverse industries and obviously people that are public facing and have clients, consumers and guests coming into various facilities where they need assistance managing this verification process.”
In the hospitality industry, it tends to be younger hosts and hostesses who would first greet guests, and may be on the receiving end of any negative reaction from someone who does not want to show their vaccine card, he said.
While the vast majority of would-be guests comply with the vaccine passport, he said, in the rare cases where they don’t security workers can cool the situation down.
“You don’t want emotions to get out of control,” he said. “The goal is to de-escalate, try to remove people from the situation together and then cooperate and listen to them and then move them on.”
Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licencees of B.C., said ahead of the vaccine card rollout, many businesses reported an uptick in abusive behaviour — but that things have generally been smooth since it went into place.
“We do have a vocal minority out there, those that think the appropriate place to express their frustration or disapproval of this is that a young staff member working on the front of the line, and that’s that’s just not acceptable,” he told CKNW’s The Mike Smyth Show.
“So in some cases where we’ve seen some of that the places have hired additional security just to keep the staff safe … but for the most part, British Columbians have been responsible.”
The province has said bylaw officers, police, gaming enforcement officers and conservation officers are all empowered to enforce COVID-19 regulations.
Fines for individuals can range from $230 for abusive behaviour to $575 for attending a non-compliant event.
How often those fines will be handed out, however remains to be seen.
License Inspectors and Bylaw Officers Association told Global News in a statement it had yet to recieve clear direction about how its officers would be involved.
“The provincial government has essentially mandate that bylaw officers assist through education, with little to no communication or consolation with the Association or local governments,” it said.
In Victoria, police have also warned they will be challenged to deal with COVID-19 enforcement issues.
“If things are at that escalated level, it’s going to be challenging for police to get there in any time of a timely manner, we have too many calls for service.”
The Ministry of Health says about 2.7 million people have downloaded their vaccine card so far.
As of Thursday, 86.3 per cent of eligible British Columbians had recieved at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 78.8 per cent of those eligible were fully immunized.
The province says fully vaccinated people accounted for 23.9 per cent of new cases over the last week, but just 13.6 per cent of hospitalized patients over the past two weeks.
On Thursday, 93 per cent of people in B.C. intensive care units were not fully vaccinated.
-With files from Richard ZussmanView link »