British Columbia

Restaurant workers from Richmond to Whistler now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

Workers 18 and older are being invited to book an appointment to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at one of the province’s clinics for front-line and essential workers.

Hospitality staff 18 and older in the Vancouver Coastal health region are now able to book appointments

A waiter on an outdoor restaurant patio serves diners at an outside patio during a moment of sun in Vancouver in January 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

All hospitality staff in the Vancouver Coastal health region are now eligible to book vaccine appointments regardless of age.

Workers 18 and older are being invited to book an appointment to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at one of the province's clinics for front-line and essential workers.

The clinics are set to begin administering doses this weekend, according to a news release from the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Some restaurants, like Jackalopes Neighbourhood Dive in Vancouver, have already been contacted directly by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to book appointments.

"I think for us it was like a big relief," said co-owner Jess Deters. "We've been working with the public throughout this whole pandemic ... but we weren't considered front-line or essential, rather. And it's nice to be acknowledged that we are actually essential workers, for sure." 

In mid-March, the province announced that more than 300,000 front-line workers in B.C. would start receiving vaccines in April. The list of workers included teachers, child-care workers, grocery store staff and first responders, but not hospitality staff.

Deters and her staff, whose ages range from mid 30s to 40, are scheduled to get their shots Friday afternoon at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Deters says the vaccines are a long time coming for them after dealing with multiple closures in the past year.

"It's been a scary time for everybody in the restaurant industry," she said. "Any time any of us had a sniffle, we would have to shut down for the day [...] until we were all tested."

Hospitality staff have been given a link to the province's Get Vaccinated website, where they must enter an access code specifically for front-line workers to book.

Deters says they are required to bring pay stubs to the appointment as well as their personal identification and health-care number.

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association says workers in Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond are eligible.

"We are working on getting this for other health regions in the province and will update you once we hear of approvals," it said in a newsletter to its members.

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