British Columbians will soon need to prove they have received coronavirus vaccine in order to attend indoor concerts, sporting events, and other activities.
Premier John Horgan announced Monday that the province will be rolling out a “B.C. vaccine card” starting on Sept. 13, which will be needed to gain access or participate in various social and recreational activities and events.
Those events and activities include indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos, nightclubs and indoor organized events such as conferences and weddings.
“This is a step we believe is important at this point in the pandemic,” Horgan said Monday.
Under the current framework, individuals 12 and older will need to show proof that they have received at least one dose of vaccine by Sept. 13. However, starting on Oct. 24, individuals will need to have received two doses of vaccine in order to attend those settings, with entry only allowed seven days after the second dose was administered.
“When you go out to non-discretionary activities, like ticketed sporting events, indoor concerts, movies, wherever there is a non-discretionary activity that you can go to with the confidence that those around you have also taken steps to prevent themselves and their families,” said Horgan. “The B.C. vaccine card will help us get there.”
In order to obtain a vaccine card — proof of vaccination status — individuals will need to access a “secure weblink” where they will be able to access their vaccine status, which can then be saved onto their phone. Those who can not access their proof of vaccination online will be provided with a secure alternative option.
Proof of vaccination will also be required for people visiting from outside of B.C. using a provincial or territorially recognized record along with some form of valid government ID from the jurisdiction. International tourists will be required to show their proof of vaccination used to enter the country and their passport.
“Those who are within Canada travelling will be expected to follow the same procedures as British Columbians if they want to participate in these [activities],” Horgan said.
B.C. had been optimistic about moving into Stage 4 of its restart plan in September, but Horgan ruled that out Monday, citing a continued rise in new cases.
An earlier version of this story is below
Premier John Horgan, along with health minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, is set to hold a live briefing on COVID-19 vaccinations in British Columbia Monday afternoon.
The announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, August 23. A live stream will be available on both CHEK’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The announcement will also be broadcast on CHEK TV.
Specific details on the update or what would be announced were not immediately available.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that B.C. may not be able to move to the next step in its COVID-19 restart plan as quickly as expected.
The comment comes as case counts surge in the Interior Health region, forcing officials to expand restrictions currently in place in the central Okanagan, such as mandatory mask-wearing and reduced limits on indoor and outdoor events, across the entire region.
British Columbia reported 663 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. More than half of the 6,345 active cases were in the Interior Health region.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix attributed the spike in cases in the Interior to lower vaccination rates.
The displacement of many residents ordered out of their homes because of wildfires has made containing COVID-19 especially challenging, Henry said.