BC mulls extending vaccine card programme

This comes amid an increase of COVID-19 cases due to Omicron

BC mulls extending vaccine card programme

Authorities of British Columbia are looking into extending the province's vaccine card programme amid an Omicron-driven surge of COVID-19 cases in the province. The vaccine card programme was first introduced in September when the Delta variant was still spreading across BC. The initiative mandates businesses to seek and verify the vaccination status of patrons before allowing them entry.

The following businesses were required to ask for vaccine passes from customers:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor concerts, theatre, dance, and symphony events
  • licensed restaurants, and those that offer table service (indoor and outdoor dining)
  • pubs, bars, and lounges (indoor and outdoor dining)
  • night clubs, casinos, and movie theatres
  • fitness centres/gyms/adult sports (indoor)
  • indoor group exercise activities
  • organised indoor events with 50 or more people (e.g., wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences, workshops)
  • discretionary organised indoor group recreational classes and activities

It was originally meant to end on January 31, 2022, but with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases due to the new highly transmissible Omicron variant, the provincial health officer said authorities are now considering its extension.

"We are looking at extending it to be able to support businesses and support people and having confidence in going to theatres and restaurants and gyms in the future," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as quoted by Business in Vancouver.

Read more: BC's public service workers required to get fully vaccinated by late November

According to Henry, she wants to find the "balance" of supporting businesses to keep them open and supporting people to make sure that they are in a safe place. British Columbia has reported 1,975 new cases of COVID-19, driving the province's overall caseload to a total of 301,121 as of January 18. In terms of vaccinations, 92.8% of eligible adults or over four million people already received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 90.1% or 3.8 million are already fully vaccinated. Over 1.5 million or 36.8% of the eligible population received their third dose.

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