‘Be kind and patient’: Vancouver Island businesses prepare for new B.C. vaccine card

'Be kind and patient': Vancouver Island businesses prepare for new B.C. vaccine card
Victoria businesses like the Bard and Banker are preparing to implement the new B.C. vaccine card. Sept. 8, 2021.

After a year and half in a pandemic, staff at Victoria’s Bard and Banker pub have learned to go with the flow — from total shut downs, to mask mandates, capacity limits, contact tracing and now a new challenge, the B.C. vaccine card.

“We’ve hired security for our locations, from open until close each day, we don’t want this to fall on our staff, younger staff, hostesses, it’s not their responsibility, we’ll have a manager out front and we’ll have security out front as well, I don’t expect it to be a big deal but in case it is we’re ready,” ” said Victoria Pub Company Manager Dylan Hagreen.

“We’ll ID people at the door to check they’re over 19 anyways so just checking everybody now, but I don’t expect it to slow down traffic at the door at all, I don’t expect it to slow down business either.”

What has been slowed down is the website to get the card. On Wednesday some people were still reporting that the system was crashing and there were long wait times and a lack of instructions.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils details of vaccine passport program

Yet in less than 24 hours, Health Minister Adrian Dix said nearly 600,000 British Columbians had already accessed their cards.

As of Sept. 13, businesses can either choose to download an app to scan people’s QR codes or visually check the card for identification and vaccine status. The restaurant industry says you’ll likely see more of the latter.

“I think you’ll see most restaurants will be quite happy to do a visual scan,” said Ian Tostenson, President & CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “I liken the transaction to the documentation you’d have if you got on a plane just have your passport and have your ID and you’re on and that works quite quickly.”

At Annex Fitness in Victoria, the process will be easier than one of their spin classes.

“So once you show it once that’s all we need to do, we have a little tag we pop onto your account then we never have to bother you again,” said founder Morgan Jones.

Jones, who only opened her doors three months before the pandemic hit, welcomes the program.

“I think most of our members are excited about it, I think our staff are excited about it, I think any way we can keep each other safe and stay open and do what we do, sounds really good to me,” she said.

“At the end of the day it’s the law, we would like to remain open so we will be following the law and I think just supporting frontline workers and staff and people dealing with this on the first week just be kind and patient.”

And staying open for good is key to so many businesses who have been hit hard by past shut downs.

“The alternative is we may have to close, we may have to have restricted hours, and that is just going to kill the industry so this way we can continue to operate,” Tostenson said.

While Tostenson says a handful of businesses are vowing to ignore the new health order, the large majority are in favour with many hoping it won’t just keep doors open but may lead to loosened restrictions and larger crowds in the months ahead.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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