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Business as usual for many Vancouver Island establishments as vaccine pass arrives

Fitness centres and arenas see similar numbers of patrons, restaurant industry asking for patience
The BC Vaccine Card Verifier app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. (Black Press Media files)

Monday, Sept. 13 marked the first day proof of vaccination was needed to take advantage of a number of indoor services, events, and activities in the province.

Despite the change, Vancouver Island facilities like community centres are still seeing similar numbers of visitors for recreation, as well as sports and fitness programs.

Campbell River city manager Deborah Sargent said the process for entry is straightforward.

“People check in with a security host right at the entrance of the buildings,” she said. “As required, they show proof of vaccination before joining us for their activity.”

So far there has not been any issues with the stipulations, she added.

“People have been cooperative about this additional requirement to help protect our community by limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus and variants,” Sargent said.

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The city’s Strathcona Gardens is following the provincial health officer’s orders.

Proof of vaccination is required for all adults – 22 years and older – participating in ice rentals, and drop-in hockey; as well as those using the weight room or fitness studio, or attending an organized event with more than 50 people.

Anyone 12 years and older will have to provide their vaccine card to attend a ticketed sporting event, like Campbell River Storm games for instance.

At Friday night’s game versus the Nanaimo Buccaneers, hockey fans can expect to have their vaccination status checked. To enter, proof of at least one vaccine shot is necessary.

“The staff at Strathcona Gardens continues to monitor the information and guidelines provided by the provincial health officer and other authorities to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public,” said Strathcona Gardens Senior Manager Koreen Gurak. “We sincerely appreciate the patience, support and encouragement we have received from the community as we navigate the new public health order.”

Residents should expect to see security on site requiring proof of vaccination.

Dining and drinking

For popular local restaurant, Dick’s Fish and Chips, the plan is to keep their service restricted to take out.

The small seafood eatery has space for a couple tables in the front, but co-owner Rose Fowlow said it isn’t worth the bother to have people sitting at them.

As it is, they have had issues with customers complaining about having to wear masks.

“We had someone come in the other day, and she was really ignorant and rude,” Fowlow said.

The patron took out their anger on a 16-year-old employee at the counter.

“She was quite traumatized by it,” Fowlow added. “She’s just a student trying to get some money for her grad this year.”

For those interested in the craft beer scene, Beach Fire Brewing has posted about the new vaccine card requirements to their social media page.

”While we respect everyone’s right to choose what is best for them, we must adhere to the new restrictions so our doors may remain open and our employees paid,” the Facebook post read.

“Please remain patient with our staff as we navigate and settle into these changes. We continue to have a zero tolerance policy for aggression or abuse towards staff so please be aware that our staff will not engage in any conversation or debate about the policies as they are simply doing their job.”

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