An interesting day lies ahead for businesses across Richmond and B.C., as the provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccine passport mandate kicks in.
As of today, certain businesses are now required to check customers for proof of immunization, with only COVID-19 vaccinated people able to enter as part of the vaccine passport system.
That includes the likes of pubs, bars, licensed restaurants (indoor and patios), indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor concerts, theatre, dance, nightclubs, casinos, movie theatres, gyms, exercise facilities/studios and recreation facilities.
However, some Richmond business owners are refusing to comply, including Davood’s Bistro and Focus Pilates in Steveston, both of which are listed on the BC Businesses Against Health Pass’ Facebook page as ones who won’t be asking customers for proof.
Focus Pilates’ owner Ramona Bianco posted on the page saying that she would “NOT be participating in this very sad state of discrimination.”
A notice purporting to be from Extreme Air Park was posted on the same page, apparently stating, in no uncertain terms, that the trampoline park would not be adhering to the vaccine passport mandate.
However, a spokesperson for Langley-based Extreme Air – which has an indoor park in Richmond – said it did not post any notice on its doors or on any site.
In fact, such facilities, according to Extreme Air, are exempt from the vaccine passport mandate, which appears to be backed up by the B.C. government’s list.
Extreme Air’s spokesperson added that, if it did have to comply, it certainly would follow the health order.
Dozens of other businesses across the Lower Mainland are listed on the page and it’s understood there are many more in Richmond and beyond which will not be asking customers for proof of vaccination.
More than 1.6 million people have already downloaded the new B.C. Vaccine Card, but until Sept. 26 any proof of one dose of a vaccine will be accepted. Along with showing you had at least one dose, adults will also need to show valid government-issued photo ID.
For example, the wallet-sized immunization card received at a vaccine clinic can be used in place of the official QR code for the next two weeks.
That’s because the province has allowed for a grace period, to ensure that everyone is up to speed.
Following that period, the QR code system will be the only accepted form of proof in order to enter certain businesses, events, or classes.
The vaccine card will have a QR code which is the square shaped image that can be read by a digital device.
By Oct. 24, you must be fully vaccinated to access some events, services, and businesses.
The card is part of a provincial health order, and anyone found to be violating the order could be ticketed $230 or $575, depending on the violation.
Any event organizer or business owner found to be in violation of the new vaccine card could face a $2,300 fine.
Where you need to show your card:
Indoor ticketed sporting events
Indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events
Licensed restaurants and restaurants that offer table service (indoor and patio dining)
Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and patio dining)
Nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres
Gyms, exercise facilities/studios and recreation facilities
Businesses offering indoor group exercise
Indoor adult group and team sports for people 19 years old or older
Indoor organized events with 50 or more people. For example: Wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences and workshops
Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery, art and choir
Post-secondary on-campus student housing
Where you don’t:
Grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies
Unlicensed restaurants that don’t offer table service, like fast food, coffee shops and takeout
Local public transportation (BC Transit, TransLink, BC Ferries)
Salons, hairdressers, barbers
Hotels, resorts, pools, cabins and campsites
Unless it is a setting or event covered by the PHO order. For example a licensed hotel restaurant, wedding reception or conference
Banks and credit unions
Retail and clothing stores
Food banks and shelters
Escape rooms, laser tag, indoor paint ball, arcades and bowling alleys (if they are unlicensed or don’t offer table service)
Post-secondary on-campus cafeterias
Indoor youth recreational sport for people 19 years old or younger
Before and after school programs for K to 12 students
Student events and activities in K to 12 public and independent schools
Indoor organized events with less than 50 people, except adult sport
To vote on Sept. 20 in the federal election
How to get your card:
If you don’t have the BC Services Card app you can sign up through the Health Gateway portal, or through the government’s website. All you need is your date of birth, personal health number, and the date of your vaccination.
Another option is to call the Provincial Vaccine Line at 1-833-838-2323 to get your printed card mailed to you. The province urges callers to be patient, as they are expecting high volumes.