Albertans planning to visit B.C. in the coming months will likely have to provide proof of vaccination to attend many non-essential events and venues in the province.
Premier John Horgan and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday that British Columbia would follow Quebec’s lead and implement a vaccine passport system as COVID-19 cases in the province spike.
As of Sept. 13, the province will require proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access many non-essential venues, events and services, including weddings, casinos, gyms and restaurants.
By Oct. 24, people will need to be fully vaccinated for at least seven days for entry to these settings.
Here is what Albertans planning to visit the province need to know.
What documentation will Albertans need?
Canadians who are visiting B.C. will be required to use a provincially or territorially recognized official vaccination record, alongside valid government ID from their jurisdiction, according to B.C. officials and the government’s website.
For Albertans, the paper record provided at the time of vaccination is an official document that can also be requested from the immunization provider at a later time, said Lisa Glover, a senior communications advisor for Alberta Health.
Glover said immunization records can also be accessed online at MyHealthRecords, or by downloading the app. The digital records can be printed and used as a hardcopy.
Along with a secondary piece of valid government ID, these official records will suffice, said Marielle Tounsi, a senior public affairs officer with B.C.’s ministry of health.
What events and venues will require vaccination?
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.
- Movie theatres.
- Fitness centres/gyms (excluding youth recreational sport).
- Businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities.
- Organized indoor events (weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, workshops).
- Discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities.
- Student housing on college and university campuses.
What events and venues will not require vaccination?
Proof of vaccination status will not be required at grocery stores and other retail settings.
It also won’t be required in order to enter a place of worship.
Who is exempt?
People who are unable to receive the vaccine for health or religious reasons will not be exempt from the mandate, Henry said.
Those too young to be vaccinated will be exempt — but not their parents.
“The only exception, I will say, is children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination,” Henry said.
“They will be able to attend sporting events or go to a restaurant — if the parents or the adults they are with are fully vaccinated.”
How long will the vaccine mandate last?
The B.C. government said new measures will be in place until at least Jan. 31, 2022.
What about masking in B.C.?
B.C. reintroduced a mask mandate for public indoor spaces across the province on Tuesday.
The new mandate comes into effect on Wednesday and applies to people age 12 and older.
Indoor spaces include grocery stores, city halls, restaurants, pubs and bars, public transit, taxis and office buildings where public services are provided.
Henry said the order will be reassessed in mid-October, when the province fully implements vaccine cards showing proof of immunization for those entering restaurants, theatres and attending certain social events.
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