Kelowna businesses get ready for vaccine passport rollout

Getting set for vaccine card

Madison Erhardt

The countdown is on for the implementation of the vaccine passport.

Starting Monday, many B.C. non-essential businesses will be at their front doors ready to scan QR codes to confirm their customer's vaccination status.

BC Restaurant and Food Services Association President Ian Tostenson says some restaurants are already being hit with additional costs.

“I talked to a restaurant owner this morning that had a group of 11, and one person in that party was not vaccinated, so they cancelled the reservation. It was a fairly expensive restaurant so these things can be kind of costly. Some restaurants have greeters so they can incorporate that likely into what they are doing right now and some restaurants don’t. Especially smaller ones."

Tostenson says some restaurants are concerned customers will take the program personally.

“We are really hoping that some people don’t make a point of targeting small businesses. I know it has happened in the Okanagan, where people are giving them bad reviews online. That is just not fair.”

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran says patrons and businesses that do not comply will be held accountable.

“In cases of non-compliance bylaw will engage the appropriate enforcement agencies such as environmental health officers, police, WorkSafe BC or other provincial health officers that have the legislative authority to respond.

The fine for refusing to show proof of vaccination is up to $575 for individuals.

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Dan Rogers is calling on the provincial government and Interior Health to loosen restrictions when the program launches.

“If you are putting in a vaccine card system, capacity increases should be, those local regional restrictions should be called off because they are not necessary now because everyone coming into those establishments theoretically have been vaccinated or fully vaccinated by October 24."

"It was clear when we engaged our businesses and heard from other businesses, if this is the path back to normal business levels then they are supportive of implementing a vaccine passport, but if it doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t help us increase capacity or get back to some normalcy businesses would likely not be as in favour," Rogers said.

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