Restaurants in B.C. now require patrons to be fully vaccinated
Requirement for full vaccination at restaurants and bars went into effect Sunday
As of Sunday, restaurant and bar patrons across B.C. are required to be fully vaccinated — and present proof of it.
Starting Monday, the restriction that requires customers to remain seated will be lifted, allowing people to walk around freely within restaurants and bars.
Jeff Guignard, executive director of B.C.'s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, said they expect the transition to the requirement for full vaccination to be smooth.
Guignard said when the vaccine passport first launched in September, about two-thirds of their membership reported having "difficult and abusive interactions with some customers," including customers yelling at staff.
"Customers were coming in and blaming the front-line staff for their disagreements with public health protocols, which is just stupid," said Guignard.
However, he noted that the issue has subsided as customers and restaurants have adapted.
"I don't expect any significant pushback from customers at this point," said Guignard.
Patrons who are 19 and older must present their vaccine card along with a piece of government-issued photo ID. People between the ages of 12 and 18 don't need to show identification with their vaccine card.
Jam Cafe owner Mike Deas-Dawlish said he doesn't know what to expect in the weeks to come for his restaurant's two Vancouver locations and Victoria restaurant. As of Sunday afternoon, they had not had any issues.
Despite potential conflict with customers, Deas-Dawlish is relieved that customers are now required to be fully vaccinated.
"It puts the staff at ease, it puts us at ease. We know now that if people are getting sick with COVID most people are vaccinated."
Brad Roark, with Nook restaurants, said they have not had any incidents involving vaccine passports at any of their several Vancouver locations.
"Maybe we're quite fortunate but we've had no instances where people have been upset about it or belligerent," said Roark.
Roark said on the rare occasion they've had to turn someone away, the person has been understanding.
"I'm very lucky that we have great clientele."
'We're going to make it fun again'
Roark said that having customers able to visit other tables will allow for a more relaxed environment. He added that as Nook locations are very much neighborhood restaurants, many customers run into people they know and enjoy taking the opportunity to catch up.
The lifting of this restriction helps nightclubs that depend heavily on this social aspect, according to Guignard.
"Now, when you see your friends, you can put your mask on and walk across the room and say hi," said Guignard.
He also added that this is good news for events like wedding receptions, where people were previously required to remain seated.
"It's not [only] safe to drink out and dine out in B.C. again, we're going to make it fun again."