Some Prince Rupert food service staff, restaurant customers and establishment owners are voicing mixed reactions to the B.C. Ministry of Health’s Aug. 23 announcement of COVID-19 immunization proof being required to enter certain facilities.
Starting Sept. 13 proof of at least one dose of administered vaccine will be required for anyone aged 12 and over to enter social and recreational settings and events. Proof of full vaccination will be required upon entering spaces such as restaurants from Oct. 24 onward. The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022, subject to extension.
Kristi Farrell, owner of Opa Sushi, said her immediate reaction to the announcement was to call somebody who wasn’t vaccinated and tell them that the new policy may affect their employment.
Farrell said the new mandate would “one hundred per cent” affect her labour cost. The new rules will require her to have an extra employee manning the door to check guests’ proof of vaccination as they enter.
The new health mandate has also raised more questions than answers for her.
“What happens if we don’t enforce. What happens if somebody gets sick,” she said. “Repercussions, too, are important to know.”
“But, I’m afraid of the fourth wave and I’m going to what I can do to make sure we’re all safe. [I’m] happy to comply, I just don’t know how to do it yet.”
The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce is also seeking to understand the impacts of the vaccine mandate on businesses and has entered discussions with other economic development organizations in B.C., Michael Gurney, president of the chamber told The Northern View.
“We want to see the policy implemented in a way that minimizes costs and administrative burden,” Gurney said.
The chamber’s first priority is health and safety, Gurney said, adding that they are currently working with their members to determine how to sensibly implement the new public health policy.
Avery Ryan, a barista at Cowpuccino’s Coffee House, said it feels strange that they will have to enforce health regulations.
“We’re a coffee shop, not a doctor’s office,” she said. “It’ll probably be weird for the first bit — just like how masks were.”
Ryan isn’t sure how they will enforce the new rules, but ideas from a sign on the door to reminding guests to have their proof upon entry are among a few.
For cafe patron, Dave Dudoward, the new rules are “ridiculous.”
Dudoward isn’t vaccinated and doesn’t plan to be so anytime soon. He said he’ll probably be staying home after the new rules fall into place.
“To me, it just seems crazy. They’re not forcing this vaccination on you or anything like that, it’s at your own free will, but … to me, you’re being forced into something now. Which is not right the way I look at it,” he said.
Locations and venues that will be required to request proof of vaccination, as well as government-issued ID include:
Indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events; indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars, nightclubs and casinos; movie theatres; gyms, pools and recreation facilities;
Does not include youth recreational sport; indoor high-intensity group exercise; indoor organized gatherings such as weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops; indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery and art.
Does not include K to 12 schools and before and after school programs; or post-secondary on-campus student housing.
A secure web link will be provided and publicized before Sept. 13, where people will be able to access their proof of vaccination.