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B.C. tightens documentation requirements: BC Vaccine Card with QR code required to access restaurants as of Monday

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As part of B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are required to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and various other recreational settings, and starting on Monday, the proof-of-vaccination requirements will be stricter.

People have been allowed to prove their vaccination status in three ways: by downloading or printing their official BC Vaccine Card, or by showing the small paper card given to patients at vaccine clinics, which includes the type and date of each COVID-19 vaccine dose they received.

But come Monday, only the BC Vaccine Card will be accepted, as the province tightens up its documentation requirements.

“The transition period, which allowed people to present their paper record of immunization received at the time of their vaccination appointment, will end on Sept. 26,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.

The BC Vaccine Card contains a QR code which can be scanned by businesses using the BC Vaccine Verifier app.

Rio Theatre owner Corinne Lea says the rollout of the proof of vaccination program has been relatively smooth at her business.

“We’re used to asking for ID and checking tickets and scanning tickets,” Lea said. “The first week, some people forgot that they had to do the process, but they were still vaccinated.”

She welcomes the switch to the official BC Vaccine Card, saying other proof of vaccination documents, like the immunization records card given out at vaccine clinics, could easily be fake.

“It’s kind of hard to know how authentic those are,” she said. “When you are sitting in a half-full theatre and you know everyone is vaccinated, I just feel better about it.”

People can get their official BC Vaccine Card online at gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard. The Ministry of Health then recommends taking a screen shot once the card has loaded, and then saving that screenshot to their device's photo album or downloads folder. A person can also print out a hard copy.

The BC Vaccine Card includes a secure individualized QR code. The cards must be shown, along with a piece of photo ID, to access sit-down restaurants, fitness centres, movie theatres, cafes and other discretionary businesses.

Through Oct. 23, residents only need to be partially vaccinated. But starting on Oct. 24, they will need to have received two doses, according to the Ministry of Healthy’s vaccine card plan.

The vaccine card system came into effect on Sept. 13 and is in place until Jan. 31, 2022, but could be extended.

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