Most Kamloops, Okanagan businesses support vaccine passports: Chambers of commerce | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Most Kamloops, Okanagan businesses support vaccine passports: Chambers of commerce

Bright Eye Brewing in Kamloops.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Bright Eye Brewing

A Kamloops brewery owner is asking those frustrated with mandatory vaccine passports to not take it out on local businesses who are already struggling amid the pandemic.

“I hear and understand your anger and frustration. Trust me, I do. It's been a long couple of years that has tested us all in ways that we never imagined. The rules and regulations put in place by our government have changed day to day and sometimes hourly,” Bright Eye Brewing owner Bryan Craig wrote on Facebook.

“I've had some great conversations with people today and some not so great ones as well. I've been called a lot of things, most notably a coward. There's some truth to that as I am certainly fearful.”

Craig said he fears the possibility of being shut down for non-compliance and having to tell more than 60 employees they no longer have jobs.

“Almost our entire existence at Bright Eye has been under the umbrella of COVID. Like we have throughout these tragic times, we will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our staff, our family, in a position to provide for their loved ones,” he wrote.

He asks that residents not direct fears and frustrations towards staff and instead send questions and comments to those making the rules.

“Most of all, I'm asking you all to just remember that we're all just people that are trying to hang on for dear life. We're all confused, upset and afraid. So please, just be nice,” he wrote. He did not return a request for comment by Friday’s story deadline.

On Sept. 13, proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine will be required to attend restaurants, both on patios or indoors. The rule will also apply to indoor sporting events, night clubs, casinos and theatres. The measures come into place as the province faces another rise in COVID-19 cases, especially among unvaccinated adults.

READ MORE: Vaccine card mandate a step too far for some Kamloops, Okanagan businesses

In the North Okanagan, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce surveyed its members, asking if they support proof of vaccinations and if they think it will affect their business.

Of the 99 respondents, 65% were in favour of requiring vaccination proof while 32% weren't. The majority of business owners also believed the required proof would either have a positive effect (32%) on their business or no effect (39%). Only 20% said it would have a negative effect.

The chamber noted not all the businesses surveyed responded to both questions. 

President of the Penticton Chamber of Commerce, Jonathan McGraw, said businesses are feeling mixed about the vaccine passports but the chamber will be sending out a survey next week.

The city's Bad Tattoo Brewing said it received positive feedback after it announced it wouldn’t be following the province’s vaccine mandate.

READ MORE: Defiant Penticton brewery getting positive feedback on anti-vaccine card stance

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce also conducted a survey of members and 57% of the 268 surveyed said they were in favour of some sort of vaccine verification system for non-essential activities if it meant getting back to normal business levels.

Kamloops Chamber of Commerce executive director Acacia Pangilinan said they also survey members and 101 responded in less than 24 hours. Roughly 70% were in favour of the vaccine passports.

However, there were a lot of people who had questions with the program, including questions around support and training for the program, she said.

Those who responded they aren’t in favour are worried about enforcement and management of the vaccine passports.

“Other businesses are concerned about the time to implement this,” she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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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