Vaccination proof-checking has left local businesses feeling the pinch, and the backlash.
There has been decreased sales activity at local restaurants since proof of vaccination was implemented, with some fitness centres reporting cancelled memberships over the issue, according to the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Anxiety is also on high among owners and staff wondering when the next agitated customer might come through the door.
The latest COVID-19 government protocols requires restaurants, gyms and other ‘non-essential’ shops to check for proof of vaccination before allowing customers to enter.
“Every time someone walks through the door, business owners and staff wonder if that individual will become agitated,” Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce president Robin Cardew said. “We know passports are contentious, but business owners and their employees don’t create the rules. Aggressive behaviour is not going to change the situation and, in fact, will only add to the stress businesses and non-profits have been experiencing during the pandemic.”
The Chamber is asking residents to continue to support businesses and non-profits during the pandemic and to be respectful over government protocols.
“We heard that uncertainty about how patrons may react to showing proof of vaccination is creating a level of anxiety,” Cardew said.
The Chamber has also heard from members not required to verify proof of vaccination that some patrons expect those establishments to ask for passports and they will refuse to enter if proof of vaccination is not sought.
“We get that people are frustrated over the pandemic dragging out. We’re frustrated. But it’s important to remember that those individuals who own or work at a local business are our friends, neighbours and family members,” Cardew said.
“Economic recovery is going to be essential for Vernon and the North Okanagan moving ahead, and we can all play a role by supporting local businesses and non-profits now when they need it most. It’s an investment that will create significant dividends for our community long-term.”
The Chamber has more than 600 members, including businesses, non-profits and government organizations.
“Our members, like the broader community, have diverse views on passports and the response to COVID. We ask that all be mindful of businesses and non-profits trying to navigate the policies in front of them and that you continue to support local businesses if they are and if they are not being required to monitor passports.”