Reaction to the first day of B.C.’s vaccine passports at some businesses and services ranged from supportive compliance to angry denunciation.
As of Monday, people wanting to sit down at a restaurant with table service or a liquor licence, attend a ticketed sporting event, an indoor entertainment events for more than 50 people, or enter non-essential establishments such as casinos, movie theatres, gyms and dance studios had to prove they have been vaccinated.
That didn’t stop a lineup of people wanting a table at Jam Cafe in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.
“I think it’s good,” said Ekatrina Perkins, an expectant mom who had her electronic passport quickly scanned by a hostess before getting a table for her husband and toddler on Monday. “I think the maybe two seconds that it took to be done was worth it. Hopefully people are going to be nice to the people who are checking.”
The cafe’s indoor tables and those on the small street patio were full just before noon on Monday and owner Mike Deas-Dawlish said almost all customers were “super supportive” of B.C.’s new vaccine passport rule.
“One gentleman who came with his partner was a little angry. And we had some phone calls and someone told me it was ridiculous,” he said. “But another woman who came here with her friends went away and was able to download it in a few minutes and she came right back.”
Staff were also able to verify vaccination status of the handful of customers that morning who were from out of province by reading the information on their apps when the B.C. reader couldn’t read their QR codes.
“As long as we see that people are vaccinated,” said Deas-Dawlish.
And he said he can serve take out orders to customers without proof of vaccination because they’re not sitting in the restaurant or on the patio.
“No one will go hungry,” he said.
At a nearby cycling studio, a staffer was scanning codes as customers arrived for a class, and one customer ran to her car to get what she needed to be let in.
At a nearby café, customers were able to order coffee and doughnuts without showing proof of vaccination, even when they consumed it on the enclosed outdoor patio, because there was no table service.
Later Monday, a group of about 300 protesters gathered at Vancouver city hall to protest vaccination orders and vaccine passports.
“Vaxxed or not, vaccine passports are unconstitutional,” said one protester’s handwritten sign he waved at passing motorists at the corner of Cambie Street and 12th Avenue, while occasionally chanting “freedom now” slogans and frequently arguing with passersby who disagreed with his opinion.
The protest was one of several held on Monday across Canada, to protest vaccination policies that some protesters see as “coercive,” according to one sign. “Leave our kids alone,” “Big Pharma, bad karma,” and “If they win on the forced jabs, we all lose,” said others.
Unlike protesters at an earlier similar protest that began outside Vancouver General Hospital and drew wide condemnation for targeting health care workers and impeding ambulances and patients, these protesters remained near city hall as police officers stood nearby. There was a smaller, earlier protest at the B.C. Supreme Court downtown.
Passing motorists honked, shouting out encouragement or raising a fist, or, in at least one case, the A-OK plus the three finger salute that is associated with the white power movement. But a number of honking motorists held up a middle finger as they passed or yelled, in one case, an opinion they were “all pieces of s—t.”
Speakers addressed the crowd, asserting the pandemic doesn’t exist, people aren’t dying from COVID any more than they would from the flu, that public health orders weren’t backed by any provincial law and that the media were spreading misinformation and lies. One speaker, a retired registered nurse, reminded participants to not act out in violence “or they win.”
As of Monday, people need to have at least one dose and by Oct. 24, customers must show proof of two doses. For details click here.