Premier says B.C. will help businesses with additional costs from proof-of-vaccine cards, but doesn't elaborate

2.7M download vax card

Premier John Horgan had little to say about how the province plans to enforce the new proof-of-vaccine program at select B.C. businesses during a press conference Friday.

The program, which was announced last month and took effect on Monday, requires people entering restaurants, gyms, indoor concerts, sporting venues and a handful of other settings to present a QR code that shows they received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the announcement, a number of Okanagan businesses have said they won't be checking their customers' vaccine status.

When asked about how the province plans to enforce the program, Horgan said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth would have more to say about the matter later in the day Friday.

“Any additional costs, we will do our best to keep those industries – whether it be gyms, restaurants, entertainment venues – assist them in implementing the vaccine card,” Horgan said, without elaborating on what that assistance may look like.

He noted that 2.7 million British Columbians have already downloaded the proof-of-vaccine card.

“Are there those in the community who feel differently? There is, but it is a decidedly small minority,” he said.

“I believe it's imperative for all of us who are frustrated and angry and tired of COVID-19 to have an opportunity to gather, to participate in their community activities – these are non-essential activities – confident that the people around them have made the same sacrifices, taken the same steps to protect themselves and those around them.”

Horgan did say the government plans to take a “very soft touch” on enforcing the new policy.

“We have not made this about cracking down, we have made this about following the lead of the public, and the public wants confidence that when they go out to these non-essential activities, they will be doing so with people of like minds, people who have taken the steps to protect themselves,” he said.

Horgan added that those who are against the new program should take it up with their elected leaders, and not hospitality employees who are just following the government's public health orders.

In recent weeks, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have all announced their own version of the so-called “vaccine passport,” and Horgan said he's confident the Maritime provinces will soon follow suit.

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