When the province announced a new B.C. Vaccine Card program last month, it led to a sudden surge in vaccinations.
But according to one Vancouver restaurateur, it didn’t lead to a similar onslaught of customers on the first day of the program’s rollout.
Natalie Rivas, co-owner of Bodega on Main, told the Straight by phone that there was “definitely less business” in her establishment on September 13 than what she normally sees on a Monday.
“Sales were down,” Rivas said.
However, she added that it’s still too early to tell whether the so-called vaccine passport will lead to more business in the future. But one thing is clear: it’s added to her overall costs.
“We have had to hire someone to do the passport at the front door,” Rivas said. “So, obviously, that’s an expense and something new for us.”
She emphasized that keeping clients and staff safe is paramount to her.
“I think some people are reluctant [to dine out] not because they’re antipassports or anything like that,” she noted. “They’re reluctant that it’s going to be cumbersome or difficult or time-consuming.”
The B.C. Vaccine Card is required to enter nonessential social and recreational events and businesses. But it’s not necessary to enter grocery stores, pharmacies, or health-care facilities (but not fast-food outlets or coffee shops).
Businesses have an option of scanning a QR code by using a smartphone, tablet, or other QR code reader. People must have had at least one vaccination for COVID-19 to be permitted entry into these nonessential social and recreational events and businesses. As of October 24, two doses will be necessary to get through the door.