September 13, 2021

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues, 

As you know, British Columbia’s vaccine card program begins on Monday, September 13. The program requires proof of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter restaurants, movies, ticketed sporting events and many other non-essential venues.

As of October 24, those aged 12 and up will need to be fully vaccinated to access those same services and venues.

Following is the complete list of settings where proof of vaccination will be required:

  • Indoor ticketed sporting events
  • Indoor concerts, theatre, dance and symphony events
  • Licensed restaurants and restaurants that offer table service(indoor and patio dining)
  • Pubs, bars and lounges (indoor and patio dining)
  • Nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres
  • Gyms, exercise facilities/studios and recreation facilities
  • Businesses offering indoor group exercise
  • Indoor adult group and team sports for people 19 years old or older
  • Indoor organized events with 50 or more people. For example: Wedding receptions, organized parties, conferences and workshops
  • Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery, art and choir
  • Post-secondary on-campus student housing

You don’t have to show proof of vaccination at places like:

  • Grocery stores, liquor stores and pharmacies
  • Unlicensed restaurants that don’t offer table service, like fast food, coffee shops and takeout
  • Hotels, resorts, pools, cabins and campsites unless it is a setting or event covered by the PHO order. For example a licensed hotel restaurant, wedding reception or conference

Customers picking up takeout and delivery meals are not required to provide proof of vaccination. Hotel pools and hotel fitness centres are also exempt. 

For more information on how to get a BC Vaccine Card, please click here.

How to verify BC proof of vaccination

Step 1: Verify proof of vaccination

You have 2 options to verify proof of vaccination. The most secure option is using the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app. You can also verify proof visually.

Option One: Using the app to verify QR codes

Scan a customer’s QR code. The customer will have it on their phone or on a piece of paper. The app will verify their proof of vaccination:

  • Partially vaccinated (Accepted September 13 to October 23)
  • Fully vaccinated

Option Two: Visual verification

You can perform a visual verification. On a person’s BC Vaccine Card, make sure their name and vaccination details are visible. 

Vaccine card transition period to September 26: To give everyone time to get their BC Vaccine Card, up to and including September 26 people can show other forms of proof of vaccination.

Step 2: Review ID

After verifying proof of vaccination, you must also review a valid government photo ID. By reviewing ID, you match the name listed on the BC Vaccine Card or other form of proof of vaccination with the person you’re verifying. You don’t need to check ID for youth aged 12 to 18. 

When names don’t match: Some people may have their legal name on their vaccine card and a preferred or common name on their ID. You may also ask for a secondary piece of ID and use discretion.

For more information on verifying out-of-province proof of vaccination and international visitors, please click here.

Download the BC Vaccine Card Verifier App

Download the app on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad).

Download the app on Android devices.

The app is free to download and works on smartphones and tablets. For the app’s privacy policy, please click here.

How to use the app

With an internet connection, download the app to your device. You can download the app on multiple devices. You must allow the app to access your device camera. 

After you’ve finished downloading, you can continue to use the app offline. No internet connection is required to scan QR codes. 

Scan a digital card or scan a paper card and the app will indicate if the person is partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated, or not vaccinated.

Sample Messaging

Have you advised your regular customers and email list of the new proof of vaccination requirements?

Download a template email to send to your customers. Please modify as needed.

Signage templates are below.

Signage and Resources

Provincial Government Resources

ABLE BC Resources

Other Resources

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace

Government has not announced anything about requiring to staff to be vaccinated. Though ABLE BC has recommended that your house policy require vaccinations. Here’s an article we published with some tips on how to do it, and why it’s more complicated than it seems.

For more information, we also encourage you to use these go2HR resources:

If all of your staff have been vaccinated, download and post this free sign to let your customers know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Privacy and the BC Vaccine Card

Every BC Vaccine Card comes with a unique QR code. B.C. is using the SMART Health Card QR code format, a requirement of the federal government. This means the QR code only stores the absolute minimum level of information and is not connected to other health records. Don’t share your QR code on social media. This is a personal document.

How do I respond to a customer that is concerned about the privacy of their medical information? 

Please see page 7, number 18 of this BC Vaccine Card Guide for guidance.

How should a business record a customer’s consent to record their proof of vaccination?

  • A business will need to ensure the customer understands that they are providing consent to have their proof of vaccination recorded and that you are asking to keep a record of their vaccination status only to make it easier for return visits.
  • The business should keep the customer’s consent in writing to reference for the future if needed.
  • A business must delete all records once the proof of vaccination requirement is lifted.
  • The business should also have a process in place to allow a customer to withdraw consent.
  • Consent to record vaccine status is best used for businesses that have a pre-existing account-based entry system (e.g., recreation centres, gyms). 

Do I have to check customer’s proof of vaccination at the door? 

You can check at the door or at the table. An operator must not serve a patron who has not provided the operator with proof of having received at least one dose of vaccine.

Do I have to check a regular customer’s proof of vaccine every time they come in – even if they are coming and going?

Every time a customer comes into a location, proof of vaccination must be confirmed. By making the vaccine verification program consistent, this minimizes the responsibility on the business to remember the last time they checked for proof of vaccination and will also provide for staff changes (e.g., breaks, vacations) as they occur.

Are there medical exemptions for people who are not vaccinated? 

No, these are very difficult decisions made by public health. Dr. Henry has said that if you are unvaccinated, for whatever reason, these kind of indoor settings with lots of people are high risk right now.

How should staff deal with confrontational non-vaccinated guests?

A business has the right to refuse service to people who are not abiding by the provincial health order. If any employee feels threatened, they should avoid confrontation and call 911. Abuse toward people trying to enforce this order will not be tolerated.

go2HR has also created new scripts to support staff in responding to difficult situations, including guests wanting to know if their server is vaccinated or refuses to comply with the policy.

Are masks still required even though proof of vaccine is now required?

Yes, masks continue to be required in all indoor public spaces for people aged 12 and up until the order is lifted or revised by the Provincial Health Officer.

For more information:

These questions and more are answered on the BC government website and BC Vaccine Card Guide for Businesses. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:

New Public Orders

This new requirement is being implemented through orders from the provincial health officer. New public orders for Gatherings and Events and Food and Liquor Serving Premises come into effect on September 13, 2021. 

Starting September 13, you must verify that people have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must verify that people are fully vaccinated. 

Failure to follow the PHO order may result in a fine. The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022 and could be extended.

Download the new public orders:

The following regional public orders also remain in effect:

Food and Liquor Serving Premises Public Order

The public order has been changed to add requirements for checking/showing proof of vaccination at a wide variety of food and liquor serving premises. The order also describes where proof of vaccination is not required.

The public order is addressed to restaurants with table service, cafes, food primary or liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms with seating, and private clubs.

This order is not directed at: food or liquor serving premises which are located in airports or at BC Ferries terminals or on BC ferries, designated onsite liquor retail and dedicated sampling room areas without seating attached to a liquor manufacturing facility, a person providing or collecting take-out food, a person who delivers to or receives food in a place other than a restaurant, non-licensed premises with only counter food service where the food is either ordered and collected from a counter, or is ordered at a counter and delivered to the customer at a table or other place, non-licensed self-serve food areas, food courts, food trucks, drive-through, take out or quick service food services […].

This Order does not apply to events as defined in the Gatherings and Events Order, or to meetings or conferences held in hotels or anywhere else. 

Highlights of the Public Order

  • The conditions in the previous public order remain in place, i.e., patrons must be assigned a table and shown to their seats, patrons must remain seated and not move between tables, and no dancing is allowed.
  • Section B introduces the Proof of Vaccination requirements
  • From September 13 to October 23: 
    • An operator must obtain proof in the form of a vaccine card that a patron has received at least one dose of vaccine in order to be served in a premises. 
    • An operator must not permit a patron, who has not provided the operator with proof in the form of a vaccine card of having received at least one dose of vaccine, remain on the premises. 
  • Commencing on October 24:
    • An operator must obtain proof in the form of a vaccine card that a patron has received two doses of vaccine in order to be served in a premises. 
    • An operator must not permit a patron, who has not provided the operator with proof in the form of a vaccine card of having received two doses of vaccine, to remain on the premises. 
  • Storing vaccine information for future use: with the written consent of a patron, an operator may keep a record of the fact that the patron has provided proof of being vaccinated in compliance with this Part until this Order expires or is repealed, and the operator my rely upon this record to satisfy the requirements in this Part with respect to the presence of the patron at the premises in the future.

For more information please read the public order.

Gatherings and Events Public Order

The public order has been changed to add requirements for checking/showing proof of vaccination at a wide variety events. The order also describes where proof of vaccination is not required.

Per the Gatherings and Events Order people must show their proof of vaccination before entering a gathering of more than 50 participants in an inside place for social, entertainment, dancing, choral, musical, recreational, gambling, arts or crafts, or business purposes and includes a ticketed sports activity, concert, theatrical production, dance or symphony performance, festival, conference, convention, trade fair, home show, workshop, wedding reception, funeral reception not at a funeral home, and a sponsored, ticketed party; and a gathering of participants in an inside place for the purpose of an adult sports activity, or an exercise, fitness or dance activity or class.

Highlights of the Public Order

  • The conditions for hosting outdoor events remain in place, including no more than 5,000 persons, or 50% of the seated operating capacity of a place, excluding event staff, whichever number is greater, are present.
  • The conditions for hosting indoor events remain in place, including:
    • No more than 50 persons, or 50% of the seated operating capacity of the place, excluding event staff, whichever number is greater, are present. 
    • There is seating available for each participant, and each participant is assigned to a seat or a table. 
    • Participants stay in the seat to which they are assigned, and do not move from seat to seat. 
    • No dancing
  • Section D introduces the Proof of Vaccination requirements for indoor events

For more information please read the public order.

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