Businesses not checking vaccine status may face fines, closures

Fines possible for businesses

It's still not clear what specific repercussions businesses who refuse to follow B.C.'s new proof-of-vaccination program will face, but incidents will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

While Premier John Horgan deferred questions about enforcing B.C.'s new program to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth on Friday, Farnworth would only say that fines are one option.

“Within my ministry, we have the interagency working group that deals with the situations as they arise,” Farnworth said Friday.

“And so obviously being able to determine the kind of infraction and the kind of enforcement that would be appropriate. It can be fines and many of them are still in place, that have been in place for the last 18 months.

“We've got professionals who know how to do their job, they've been doing it for the last 18 months, and they're going to be able to deal with the situations that may arise over the coming months.”

Farnworth said his ministry has been working closely with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association about the vaccine card program.

“They made it clear to their members that they need to follow the orders,” Farnworth said.

BCRFA CEO Ian Tostenson told Castanet last week they are recommending non-compliant restaurants be fined or shut down if their actions are intentional. But Friday, Farnworth would not say if closing down these non-compliant restaurants was on the table.

“As I said, when complaints are made, they can go up to the interagency table within my ministry, and they can look at the infraction and what's taking place and the appropriate penalty can be levied,” Farnworth said.

While Horgan said Friday that his government would “do our best” to assist businesses in implementing the so-called vaccine passport program, Farnworth did not provide any specifics.

“We know that some businesses have gone and hired additional security, particularly those obviously involved in entertainment, bars for example,” he said. “But we will be working with businesses and business associations to see how things evolve, and ways in which the province can ensure that things are running the way they're supposed to.”

Those entering some types of businesses – including restaurants, gyms, indoor concerts, sporting venues and a handful of others – are required to show proof they've received at least one dose the COVID-19 vaccine.

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