British Columbia has announced a new mask mandate and the details of the province’s proof of vaccination requirements to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Starting August 25, 2021, a mask mandate will be implemented throughout B.C. to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to prepare the province for the respiratory illness season.
Individuals 12 and older are required to wear masks in all indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include food businesses such as coffee shops, retail and grocery stores, restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated).
This mask mandate is a temporary order that will be reassessed once the province has fully implemented the B.C. vaccine card requirements as outlined below.
Proof of Vaccination Requirements
Proof of vaccination to access certain businesses, services and events will be required starting September 13, 2021.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.‘s provincial health officer, spoke about the reasoning behind implementing these new proof of vaccination measures.
“While our vaccination rate continues to rise, we are still seeing waves of transmission primarily amongst those who are not fully vaccinated. These new measures will help reduce transmission and keep our communities safe and ensure we can continue to keep businesses open and safely enjoy much-needed social events,” she said.
How it works
People in B.C. must be at least partially vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to access certain businesses, services and events.
People in B.C. must be fully vaccinated to access the same list of businesses, services and events. Fully vaccinated means it’s been at least seven days since you received your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
These requirements are applicable to all people ages 12 and older.
Businesses, services and events that require proof of vaccination
The following businesses, services and events will ask to see proof of vaccination and valid government ID:
- Indoor ticketed events (e.g. concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events)
- Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars
- Nightclubs and casinos
- Movie theatres
- Gyms, pools and recreation facilities (excluding youth recreational sports)
- Indoor high-intensity group exercise
- Indoor-organized gatherings (e.g. weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops)
- Indoor-organized group recreational classes and activities (e.g. pottery and art classes)
- Post-secondary on-campus student housing (students must be partially vaccinated by September 7)
Individual businesses and event organizers can choose to implement proof of vaccination requirements before September 13 as part of their ongoing COVID-19 safety plans. If businesses choose to adopt additional vaccination policies beyond what is set out in this order, they are responsible for doing their own due diligence.
How to access your proof of vaccination
A secure B.C. vaccine card website will be available and will provide confidential access to people’s proof of vaccination. You can save your vaccine card on your smartphone. If you cannot access your proof of vaccination online, a secure paper option will also be available. As of this publication, the website and paper options are not yet available.
You will need to provide the following information to access your B.C. vaccine card:
- Date of birth
- Personal health number (PHN)
What businesses need to check
Starting September 13, businesses that fall under the categories listed above will need to review proof of vaccination from B.C. residents, as well as individuals visiting from outside of the province.
B.C. residents must show:
- B.C. vaccine card (digital or paper option)
- Valid government ID
Canadian visitors must show:
- Provincially/territorially officially recognized vaccination record
- Valid government ID from the same province or territory
International visitors must show:
- Proof of vaccination they used to enter Canada
The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS) monitors changes to COVID-19 health restrictions as they occur across Canada. We will continue to provide updates as they develop.