B.C. Premier John Horgan announced a proof of vaccination program for B.C. restaurants, bars and other venues, at the B.C. legislature, Aug. 23, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced a proof of vaccination program for B.C. restaurants, bars and other venues, at the B.C. legislature, Aug. 23, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

Salmon Arm businesses react to B.C.’s vaccine passport system

Some businesses worry for workers who will be enforcing passport, while others won’t enforce it

Some Salmon Arm businesses are worried for their young employees who may have to enforce B.C.’s vaccine passport, while others are choosing not to enforce the passport at all.

B.C.’s vaccine card will be implemented Sept. 13, when proof of one vaccine dose will be required for a variety of indoor activities (and patio dining). By Oct. 24, proof of two doses will be required for those activities. More information on the passport is available on the government of B.C.’s website.

On Aug. 27, B.C. Premier John Horgan said businesses should call police over those who refuse to follow the vaccine passport system.

Aaron Soltys, co-owner of Sanctuary Games in downtown Salmon Arm, said the young folks employed at his store just want to work at the local game store — not argue with 40 year olds about why they should or shouldn’t follow government mandates.

“Most people are good and understanding, but there are outliers,” he said.

“I don’t know what people expect to change by coming in here and yelling at people, it wasn’t really our choice.”

Soltys said his staff have been yelled at on multiple occasions about mask mandates, and he now has a sign on his door asking people to take up their issues with the government of B.C.

While he doesn’t mind kicking people out himself, he said it’s unfair to expect teenagers to become enforcement officers.

Warren Gage is a chiropractor at Harbourfront Family Chiropractic, a business on the list, “BC Businesses against Health Pass.”

In an email, he said Harbourfront has always been a natural healthcare provider that’s proud to call Salmon Arm home.

“In these challenging times it is important for people to have a safe place to go for assistance with their health concerns… We continue to welcome all families into our office for chiropractic care and natural healthcare services,” said Gage.

Kristin Fells is the owner of Hungry Panda, a local restaurant that was added to the businesses against health pass list without consent. She said some of her young employees were given a hard time enforcing mask mandates, and she worries they’ll have an even more difficult time enforcing a vaccine passport.

“Our main concern is we aren’t comfortable making our young, inexperienced employees try to enforce the vaccination (passport) rule,” said Fells.

Fells said her business wants to follow government guidelines to the best of its ability.

“We don’t have any major issues with the restrictions that have come down; we think the province is doing the best it can to keep people safe.”

Dave Wallace is general manager of Askew’s Foods. While grocery stores do not have to enforce a vaccine passport, he does feel for businesses that do.

“Our staff received a tremendous amount of harassment and abuse over the last year-and-a-half from customers that did not agree with something that was out of our control,” said Wallace.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Hungry Panda was on the BC Businesses against Health Pass list. However, the business has since informed The Observer it was added to the list without consent.

With files from Lachlan Labere

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