Diners have to prove they’re vaccinated in B.C. but workers don’t | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Diners have to prove they’re vaccinated in B.C. but workers don’t

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
September 11, 2021 - 3:25 PM

As of Monday, people dining out in restaurants, going to pubs, casinos and some events will have to prove they’re vaccinated against COVID-19.

But the people asking for that proof don’t have to reciprocate.

“That is the irony of this because we can’t disclose employee information to the public,” Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, told iNFOnews.ca today, Sept. 10. “It’s just the way the employment standards and current human rights legislation reads.”

READ MORE: Here’s how to get your B.C. COVID-19 vaccination card

Customers can always try asking about their server’s vaccination status but they don’t have to answer.

“Most owners will say, 100 per cent of their staff are vaccinated,” Tostenson said. “How would they know that? Because their staff would probably tell them. Why would you hide that?”

Many of the people working in the restaurant industry are fairly young and are quite motivated to get vaccinated.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: After dodging the question, Kelowna-Lake Country candidate announces she is vaccinated

“Because of the nature of the demographics of who works in our industry, they know there’s a lot of things they can’t do if they’re not vaccinated and that tends not to work with their lifestyles,” Tostenson said. “Even dining in the restaurant they work in, they would have to be required to be vaccinated.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news conference earlier this week that those aged 18 to 24 have the highest vaccination rates of any cohort under the age of 60. Given the number of reservations at vaccination clinics, they’re quickly closing that gap.

That age group is 86 per cent vaccinated, which is above the provincial average.

Restaurants can’t require that their staff be vaccinated but they can require it of new employees and many are doing that, Tostenson said.

“The objective of all this is not to put barriers in place for people not to come but to provide an environment where people feel safe,” he said, noting he just received an email from someone who is thrilled that they can now go out for dinner after 18 months of COVID.

Tostenson knows there are some “rogue” elements who say they will challenge restaurant owners and workers over the vaccine requirement but urges them not to.

“So many of the people in our industry are young,” he said. “They didn’t sign up for confrontation or being challenged.”

READ MORE: Take your frustrations out on COVID and politicians, not healthcare workers: Premier Horgan

There are plenty of options for eating out for those who are not vaccinated. Not only is take-out and delivery still available but food courts and fast food restaurants don’t need the vaccine cards.

“The other side of this is, we’re trying to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Tostenson said. “That’s what this is all about.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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