A majority of Salmon Arm businesses that took part in a survey around B.C.’s vaccine card program indicated they would not restrict entry to customers or staff based upon vaccination status.
Following the B.C. government’s Aug. 23 announcement it would be launching a proof of vaccination system on Sept. 13, the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce created a survey for its membership to acquire feedback.
The results of the survey were released on Friday, Sept. 17.
One of the questions asked in survey was if respondents planned to restrict people from coming into their business based on vaccination status. Seventy-five per cent of those who responded said they would not, while 15.3 per cent said they would. More than 95 per cent of respondents said they do not have a policy that requires customers to be fully vaccinated in order to enter, and 88 per cent said they will not require staff to be fully vaccinated to work.
According to the chamber, the most common concern voiced was that of worry for front-line workers having to enforce the program, and the additional responsibility of enforcement once again being placed on the shoulders of businesses.
Asked if they support having a vaccine card verification system, 50 per cent of respondents were in favour.
The province’s vaccine card, available at www2.gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard.html, requires people ages 12 and older to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 13, and be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 24 in order to access some events, services and business. The list of places where the card is required includes licensed restaurants and cafes that offer table service (indoor and patio dining), pubs, gyms and businesses offering indoor exercise/fitness, and indoor organized events with 50 people or more.
In a Sept. 17 media release, the chamber stated it supports initiatives to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, and recognizes the vaccination passport program as being part of a strategy to curb the spread of the virus, both to avoid the strains on the healthcare system and to avoid a complete shutdown of businesses. However, the chamber is calling on the province to ensure the vaccine passport does not further burden businesses through this pandemic.
“Businesses are facing extreme difficulties finding and keeping employees,” reads the chamber release. “Enforcement of these provincial health mandates is an ongoing concern and simply adds to the pressures on the employees.”
The chamber said it’s committed to continuing working with its regional partners, tourism associations and the BC Chamber of Commerce to advocate at the provincial level for reasonable and effective implementation of plans moving forward.
“We hope that the B.C. government will continue to be open to alternative solutions,” stated the chamber, asking that everyone in the community, despite differences, be patient and respectful with one another as we continue through the pandemic.
B.C. Premier John Horgan has said businesses should call police over those who refuse to follow the vaccine card system.
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