UPDATE 1:30 p.m.
The B.C. government will soon require proof of vaccination to access a wide variety of events and activities.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the BC Vaccine Card will launch on September 13, the date anyone above the age of 12 will need to have at least one dose to access many settings.
By October 24, entrance will require both doses of the vaccine.
Impacted settings include:
- indoor ticketed sporting events
- indoor concerts
- indoor theatre/dance/symphony events
- restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
- night clubs
- movie theatres
- fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
- businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
- organized indoor events (eg. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
- discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities
Faith-based gatherings and essential businesses like grocery stores are exempt from the program.
“This will be a time-limited initiative,” said Henry.
“As we move into the fall, we’ll continue to work with the federal government to make sure we have an alignment with the federal … vaccine passport that’s under development as well.”
Henry said enforcement of the vaccine passport will fall on businesses, much like checking ID for purchases of alcohol. The rules will not apply to employees of businesses.
Individuals will be required to show proof of vaccination alongside valid government ID.
Besides people under the age of 12, there will be no exemptions for those who cannot get vaccinated for any reason. Dr. Henry said they are looking at keeping the system in place until at least January 31.
“There is no reason why those who are anxious to participate in the social and economic life of our community can't take that next step,” Premier John Horgan said, adding the majority of British Columbians, over 80 per cent, have been vaccinated.
“That majority wants to know that people that they are interacting with have taken the same steps to protect themselves and their loved ones in their communities,” Horgan said.
He said he expects the province will have to defend the program in court.
"We'll take that on as it comes, I don't want to prejudge or predict who or what or how that will happen. But again, government is always prepared for these types of adventures into the courts, we do it all the time," he said.
Horgan also confirmed this current spike in cases would delay the province’s plans to move into Step 4 of its four-step reopening plan, originally slated for September 7.
Henry said people who've not been fully vaccinated account for almost 90 per cent of all recent COVID-19 cases and over 93 per cent the hospitalizations.
The government says a secure weblink will be publicized before Sept. 13, where people can access their proof of vaccination. Individuals will be able to save a copy of their proof of vaccination to their phone to show it when entering or using designated businesses and events. Individuals who cannot access their proof of vaccination online will be provided with a secure alternative option, said the government.
UPDATE 1 p.m.
Live video of B.C. vaccination announcement above.
ORIGINAL 4 a.m.
Premier John Horgan will be making his first public appearance in a month Monday afternoon at a news conference, where it is expected restrictions for unvaccinated residents will be announced.
Global News reporter Richard Zussman tweeted Saturday that unvaccinated residents will not be able to access non-essential businesses like movie theatres or restaurants.
NEW - According to those who have been briefed on the plan, sounds like BC Government will announce on Monday those eligible who are unvaccinated will not be able to access non-essential businesses. Could include movies and restaurants. No details on when it will start. #bcpoli— Richard Zussman (@richardzussman) August 21, 2021
The announcement, scheduled for 1 p.m., is also expected to provide details on what a vaccine passport will look like. Castanet will carry the news conference live within this story.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will also attend the announcement.
A number of large organizations have in recent days require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter things like concerts or sporting events.
The federal Liberals have also made the issue a political one, campaigning on the plan to require vaccination for federal workers and to board an airplane.
Premier Horgan is returning from a multi-week holiday to Atlantic Canada.