B.C. Announces New COVID-19 Vaccination Card Required For Public Activities

The B.C. government has announced a plan to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for anyone who wants to attend a concert, sports game, movie, restaurant, nightclub, casino or fitness class.

The new “B.C. vaccine cards” will be implemented Sept. 13, Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters on Monday.

“Getting vaccinated is the way forward through this pandemic,” Horgan said.

Initially, eligible British Columbians will require proof of one dose of vaccine. By Oct. 24, two doses will be required. The cards will be required for a wide range of non-essential recreational and social activities.

Dr. Henry said that unvaccinated people currently account for about 90 percent of COVID-19 cases in B.C., and 93 percent of hospitalizations. The risk of infection is about 10 times higher for people who aren’t vaccinated, she added.

“These numbers are a stark reminder of why vaccines are important,” Dr. Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix also confirmed that because of the increasing case and hospitalization numbers, B.C. will not move on to the next step in its COVID-19 restart plan on Sept. 7 as planned.

The number of cases has surged in the Interior Health region, forcing officials to expand restrictions in the Central Okanagan — such as mandatory mask-wearing and reduced limits on indoor and outdoor events  — across the entire region.

Dr. Henry said there will be some discretion in areas of high transmission to require proof of vaccination before Sept. 13.

Full list of settings requiring proof of vaccination

The new vaccine card will be available online for use on a smartphone, but for those who can’t access proof of vaccination digitally, the province says a “secure alternative option” will be available. Premier Horgan said efforts are underway to make sure the cards can’t be forged or hacked.

The full list of activities covered by the new rules includes:

  • indoor ticketed sporting events
  • indoor concerts
  • indoor theatre/dance/symphony events
  • restaurants (indoor and patio dining)
  • night clubs
  • casinos
  • movie theatres
  • fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport)
  • businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities
  • organized indoor events (eg. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops)
  • discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities
  • student housing on college and university campuses

The cards will not be required for grocery stores and other retail settings, where Dr. Henry said there haven’t been high levels of transmission. It also won’t be necessary to enter a place of worship.

Dr. Henry said there will be an exemption for children under the age of 12, but not for people who are unable to receive the vaccine for health or religious reasons.

Proof of vaccination will also be required for people visiting from out of the province. Health Minister Dix said the logistics for Canadian visitors will be determined on a province-by-province basis. People visiting from outside Canada will be required to show the proof of vaccination they used to enter the country, along with their passports.

The new measures will be in place until at least Jan. 31, 2022.


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