Restaurants and bars are among the non-essential B.C. businesses where patrons will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination starting Sept. 13; however, provincial officials have confirmed there are some exceptions within the sector.
During a technical briefing held Tuesday (Sept. 7), Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry indicated that not all B.C. restaurants will be checking each guest's vaccine card — a QR code mobile app that displays vaccination status as either partial, complete, or no record.
Businesses can either scan or visually verify the QR code in order to determine if a guest may enter the business. Customers must provide a photo ID that matches the name on the BC Vaccine Card.
Henry indicates that only restaurants with a liquor licence and/or offering table service will have to check for proof of vaccination for access.
Specifically, Henry said fast food restaurants and take-away-only restaurants will not be required to check customers' BC Vaccine Cards. That means if you are grabbing a meal, coffee, or snack at places like McDonald's, Dairy Queen or Starbucks, you will not be expected to show your BC Vaccine Card for verification.
Other kinds of food businesses or settings, like food courts, cafeterias, or those offering grab-and-go only are exempt, as are drive-thrus.
The businesses and events where the BC Vaccine Card is mandated are deemed "non-essential" or "recreational." For those who choose not to be vaccinated or to participate in the BC Vaccine Card program, Henry suggests they can still support local restaurants by ordering food for delivery.
Additional provincial orders remain in place, including the one mandating anyone entering an indoor space like a restaurant must wear a face mask when not seated. Distancing measures and capacity limits also remain in effect.
The BC Vaccine Card will be enforced starting Sept. 13, with at least one dose of the vaccine needed. Starting Oct. 24, people will need to be fully vaccinated to enter these higher-risk social, recreational and discretionary events and businesses.