Small protest marks rollout of vaccine passport program in Kelowna

Day 1 of vax passport arrives

Madison Erhardt

BC’s vaccine passport is now in place for many non-essential businesses across the province.

Anyone visiting businesses such as sit-down licensed restaurants, movie theatres, casinos and gyms must show proof that they have had one dose of the COVID-19 shot. By Oct. 24, they will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated.

Chances Casino says the implementation of the passport has gone pretty smoothly so far.

“It has gone reasonably well all things considered. There is a lot of confusion for some people. A lot of people didn’t actually know that today was day number one. That was our biggest surprise. We have turned away 25 people so far, mostly just because of those that didn't know.” said Sean Quain, gaming manager.

Quain says most people are understanding.

“It is not a Chances Kelowna thing it is a B.C. thing. Not too many fights honestly,” he added.

For those that do put up a fight, the Kelowna RCMP says measures will be taken.

“For those that continue to flaunt the current health directions, the newly initiated vaccine passport, or any of the public health orders we will continue to use all of our powers to address this through community safety. This includes our criminal code authorities for fraud, assault, mischief, cause disturbance, or uttering threats,” said RCMP Supt. Kara Triance on Monday.

Triance says business owners have the right to operate without threat from belligerent patrons.

“This is our community. We are going to come through this pandemic when we come together to raise our vaccine numbers, and to support our local economy. We need your patience and respect.”

Those against the vaccine passport held a protest Monday afternoon outside of Interior Health’s building along Doyle Avenue. The location has been the site of frequent protests over the past several months.

“You people are bullies. The masked bullies, the pink shirt bullies. There you go. Got it, feel better? Make you happy? Man who stole my country. Shame on you,” a protester shouted at a Castanet reporter.

“You are such a coward. You have no idea what is going on in this world. You think you know what is going on and you don’t. You think the vaccine is the good thing,” another protester shouted.

The Kelowna RCMP says they have already handed out over $10,000 in fines for those not in compliance with public health orders during the pandemic.

For now, residents can show the paper vaccine card they received when they got their shot as proof of vaccination. But starting Sept. 27, they will need to show their QR code. If you don't have yours already, you can get it online here.

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