September 14, 2021

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues, 

Yesterday, the provincial government announced the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order for the Central Okanagan has been repealed. Establishments in the Central Okanagan must now follow the province-wide public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises.

What this means for food and liquor serving premises in the Central Okanagan: 

  • You are no longer limited to 6 patrons per table
  • Physical distancing between patrons is no longer required
  • Patrons can sing and engage in karaoke, but no dancing is allowed
  • Restrictions on hours of liquor service have been removed; you must follow what is on your license

As a reminder, all food and liquor serving premises in British Columbia must continue to abide by the public order. The province-wide mask mandate also remains in place.

Current restrictions include:

  • Patrons must be seated while on the premises
  • Patrons must be assigned a table, booth, or counter, and shown to their seats. Patrons must stay in the seat to which they are assigned.
  • Patrons can stand to use a juke box, self-serve lottery ticket dispenser, pay at a pay station, and play pool or darts
  • Dance floors must be closed with physical barriers or occupied with tables, unless they are being used for a dance performance
  • For a full list of conditions, please read the public order. The mask mandate also remains in place.

Updated restrictions for events in Interior Health

Yesterday, the provincial government also announced that Interior Health is updating COVID-19 regional medical health officer orders to make it possible for larger events to go ahead in the Interior, as long as participants show proof of full vaccination.

The following updates have been made to the Interior region Gatherings and Events Order:

  • For smaller organized events, participants will be required to show proof of vaccination (minimum one dose) until October 24, 2021. By October 24, full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Indoor events may be held with up to 50 people, and outdoor events may be up to 100 people.
  • Proof of full vaccination will be required for participants at all large events, consistent with Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. This means indoor events may be held that include 50 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity (whichever is greater); outdoor events may include 5,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity (whichever is greater). 

Note: if you are outside the Interior Health region, proof of vaccination is only required at indoor events. You can read more about the Gatherings and Events restrictions here.

The following regional medical health officer orders remain in place across the Interior region: 

  • Gatherings in vacation rentals are limited to five guests or one other household.
  • Outdoor personal gatherings (e.g., birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties) are limited to no more than 50 people, and indoor personal gatherings are limited to five guests or one other household.

Non-essential travel to or from the Interior remains discouraged until individuals are fully-vaccinated. The interval between first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses has decreased to 28 days for everyone. People can get vaccinated by dropping into any IH immunization clinic and are available here.

BC Vaccine Card FAQ

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback on how the first day of implementing the BC Vaccine Card went.

For more information on the BC Vaccine Card program, please click here.

For the most part it appears British Columbians are supporting our industry and taking the new proof of vaccination requirements in stride, but we’ve heard of several incidents around cancellations and hurtful comments. While we’re confident things will calm down over the next several days, unfortunately there’s a vocal minority who are expressing their frustrations over this province-wide mandate by sending hateful comments to businesses who are simply abiding by the law.

We’re monitoring this situation closely and are in regular contact with government about the impact of this order and the need for additional industry support.

ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard addressed this issue directly on both Global TV and CTV News last night, as did BCRFA CEO Ian Tostenson. We’ll keep working to clarify that taking frustrations out on local businesses is in appropriate and damaging to local businesses and the people they employ.

Please reach out to ABLE BC with any other questions or concerns you may have: info@ablebc.ca.

We’ve responded to some frequently asked member questions below.

What does another province’s vaccination card look like?
You may have people who aren’t from BC accessing your events, services and businesses. They must follow the same requirements and provide proof of vaccination and ID.

Follow the same 2 steps, verify proof of vaccination and review ID for a name match. 

People from other Canadian provinces or territories must show:

  • Provincially/territorially officially recognized vaccine record
  • Valid government photo ID

Download examples of Canadian immunization records.

How should you respond to customers who take issue with the vaccine card and do not want to comply?

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 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.

You can also encourage customers to voice their concerns about the vaccine card directly to their local MLA.

Can you keep a record of a person’s vaccine status? 

You are required to check someone’s vaccine card every time they enter the premises for service. However, if the patron is a regular customer you may keep a record of that person’s vaccine status so do you do not need to check every time. You must get the patron’s consent first.

The public order reads: “…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.”

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). 

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.

NOTE: You are not required to confirm vaccine cards using the BC Vaccine Card Verifier App. Business have the option to use the app, or to simply check a customer’s vaccine card visually. 

Visually confirming a customer’s vaccine card and checking their ID is sufficient to meet the requirements of the public health order.

We have heard some patrons object to having their passport scanned as they consider it more invasive than a visual inspection of the vaccine card. While no personal or confidential information is either collected or saved by using the app, we recommend choosing the option that works best for your business, your customers, and your staff.

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.


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