Concerns for frontline staff on eve of B.C. vaccine card rollout
Sunday evening provided the last opportunity for unvaccinated British Columbians to dine in at most restaurants, go to the movies or workout at the gym.
Starting Monday, proof of vaccination will be required to access most non-essential businesses.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Tashmeeta Ahad as she strolled the seawall Sunday afternoon.
“It ensures people are getting double-vaccinated and it’s more motivation for them to do so.”
“It’s not fair,” countered Eliza Vita, who is unvaccinated. “It’s just not fair. Everyone should have entitlement to the same rules. Not some can and some can’t.”
The proof of vaccination requirement is something many hospitality businesses welcome.
“I think we are cautiously happy,” said Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association.
“Because the alternative to not doing this tomorrow – the vaccination requirement to get into restaurants – is the chances of having to close and having to lay off our staff.”
There have already been large-scale protests against the vaccine passport, including one targeting Vancouver General Hospital.
That’s left some businesses worrying that they’ll be targeted.
“We are concerned about how this is going to roll out, right?” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees.
“It’s a quick turnaround and it’s a very contentious issue for a lot of folks … If you’re upset about the rules, please stay home and order some takeout. There’s no scenario where it’s acceptable to go yell at a 25-year-old host or hostess in a pub or restaurant. They’re doing what they’re ordered to do by the provincial government.”
In social media groups for those opposed to the new requirements, some have suggested people order takeout over the phone and then not show up to pay for it as a way to protest restaurants that comply with the proof of vaccination requirement.
“Tomorrow we’re thinking about the guest experience and making this really awesome for people,” said Tostenson. “And now we’re having to put another thought in our minds in terms of people who want to order food and not pay for it. Like, how ridiculous is that?”
He went on to suggest restaurants not accept large phone orders from customers they don’t know for the first few days after the new rules take effect.
So far, more than 1.7 million British Columbians have accessed their vaccine card online.
“The best way to deal with all this is to go and support your local restaurant,” said Tostenson. “They’ll really appreciate it.”
Initially, only one shot will be required, but by Oct. 24, patrons will need to be double-dosed.