North Vancouver and West Vancouver businesses respond with hope and concern to vaccine passports
A vaccination card will be required to enter restaurants, bars, theaters, gymnasiums and most indoor group sports and recreation activities for adults, starting September 13.
North Shore businesses and organizations welcome the introduction of vaccine passports next week with a mixture of hope and trepidation.
Vaccination cards showing proof of vaccination will be required for a number of “high risk” social and recreational activities, starting Monday.
These activities include entry to restaurants, pubs, bars and lounges, indoor events organized with more than 50 people, indoor leisure and fitness group lessons, fitness centers, gymnasiums. and indoor sports for adults. It also includes entry to nightclubs, casinos, theaters and indoor sporting events.
For Ian Tostenson, a resident of North Vancouver and president of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, the introduction of vaccine passports is good news for its members.
“We are happy because the alternative is that we could have faced closures or trade restrictions,” he said – resulting in the loss of customers and staff in restaurants.
Tostenson said he hopes it won’t be long before the public gets their BC vaccination card. “It took me a minute to get mine. “
Tostenson added that his industry group has also called on the province to be tough on companies required to have passports that do not comply.
Most local businesses welcome the passport, especially as it will reassure employees, said Greg Holmes, executive director of the Lower Lonsdale Business Improvement Area.
But he adds that business owners are also worried about being left behind with the implementation.
While large restaurants already have guests at the doorstep, many smaller cafes do not, he said, and face the prospect of additional work for employees in an already labor market. tense.
Business group to provide security when introducing vaccine passports
Some companies are also concerned about the prospect of customers who disagree with the vaccine passport making a scene and lashing out at their staff, he said.
For this reason, the Business Improvement Zone hired roving security guards to be on call for businesses in Lower Lonsdale during the first week of the vaccination passport rollout. The focus will be on resolving conflicts in the unlikely event that it is required, Holmes said.
“We don’t want a young waiter in a cafe, restaurant or bar to have someone in front of him looking to fight.”
Chris Harrison, owner of CrossFit Lions in North Vancouver, said he supports the vaccine passport. “I’m happy to be part of the solution,” he said. “It’s the way to bring my gym back to normal.”
But Harrison said enforcement of the provincial health order is another issue that local businesses already hit hard during the pandemic will face.
Patrick Stafford-Smith, executive director of the North Vancouver Chamber, said it was a comment he had heard a lot from local business owners. “Everyone is in favor of us doing whatever we can to make businesses work,” he said.
But he added: “It’s already difficult for businesses to deal with COVID. This is an additional task for businesses.
Verification of vaccine passports is an additional task for companies
Many companies were also hoping that the rollout of the vaccine passport would come with greater capacity limits, he said.
A number of details about the program are still being worked out, he added, adding to the challenges facing businesses. “He’s pushed very quickly.
At the Kay Meek Arts Center in West Vancouver, executive director Rob Gloor said he was looking forward to a drop in which a wider audience can feel comfortable with the vaccine passport in place.
Over the summer, the 500-seat theater limited events to 80 people, he said, but now sells up to 250 seats for events.
“I think it will give our audience more confidence that they are entering a more secure environment,” he said of the passport.
Gloor said passport checks will likely lead to queues and “it will take longer to get people into the building.” It will also require additional staff, he said.
Gloor said he expects the majority of members of the public to be understanding.
“I think people are ready to come back to life. “
Municipal recreation centers await clarification on health order
At the end of the week, local municipalities were still awaiting written details from the provincial health office on how the passport should be rolled out for local recreation centers and activities.
The West Vancouver District expected to require proof of vaccination to enter many recreational and cultural facilities for programs and spectators on Friday. Proof of vaccination will also be required for parents to accompany children to their programs, said district spokeswoman Donna Powers.
Sports programs for youth 19 and under will be exempt from the requirements, but music and art programs for youth will require the passport.
Large facilities will have specific entrances open and security personnel on-site to check in people, Powers said.
She added that these requirements may change if different information is published in the written provincial health order.
Vaccine passports will be phased in over the next six weeks.
Paper cards can still be used until September 26.
After that, the electronic BC Vaccine Card will be required.
To begin with, the public will only have to provide proof of a dose of vaccine to enter the businesses and events specified by the decree. By October 24, proof of two doses will be required.
At a press conference announcing the vaccine passports this week, Dr.Bonnie Henry, provincial medical officer of health and Minister of Health Adrian Dix, described the vaccine passports as a necessary step to protect the public while minimizing the social and economic disruption.
No essential services will be denied, says Horgan
“We know it’s going to be tough, there will be bumps at the start,” said Dix. “But it’s important to allow those who are now protected to continue to operate their businesses safely and not be burdened by the restrictions we have had to put in place in the past.”
British Columbia Premier John Horgan stressed that no one will be denied essential services because of their immunization status.
“It is not about restricting the rights of individuals. It is about giving more rights to those who have taken measures to protect themselves, ”he said. “No service will be denied to British Columbians because of the vaccination card. There will be no inability for people to shop for retail outlets. “
The vaccination passport for the companies and activities concerned comes into force on Monday, September 13.