Dan Rogers, Executive Director of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
The Kelowna business community is calling on the provincial government to delay the rollout of the vaccine passport program.
The local chamber of commerce said a “modest” majority (57%) of respondents to a survey this week supported requiring proof of vaccination to enter businesses, but more than a third ( 36%) strongly opposed it.
“Our members are very sensitive about this,” says Jeffrey Robinson, president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. “Common ground seems to be the desire to get back to normal, but there are fundamental differences as to whether requiring certain private companies to deny service to unvaccinated clients is consistent with this goal.” . “
The Chamber is also concerned about the way in which the government will support companies which will be required to enforce the vaccination passport.
“The businesses that will be affected by this decision want to know how it will be implemented and what support the government will provide them,” said Chamber Executive Director Dan Rogers. “There needs to be clarity so that employees are not unfairly put in conflict with customers. We therefore encourage the government to reconsider the implementation schedule so that companies can fully understand and reasonably plan what the government is going to ask them to do. to do. “
The Chamber said its investigation also indicated that companies prefer alternative methods of providing proof that a person is not infectious, such as inexpensive or free rapid test kits or proof of a recent negative test. .
“Given that a significant minority of our population is deeply opposed to vaccination, we believe it is incumbent on the government to explore these alternatives,” said Robinson. “Many companies are not subject to mandatory vaccine testing and want to protect their employees and customers with testing. “
The Kelowna chamber also argues that the current health restrictions in the central Okanagan should be lifted when the vaccination passport system is rolled out, noting that if unvaccinated people cannot dine in restaurants, an early disruption of vaccinations. alcohol sales shouldn’t. t be necessary.
Capacity limits should be increased when vaccination cards are required, the Chamber continued.
“We can understand that an increase in vaccinations will help us get back to normal, but we continue to call on the government to establish a long-term plan for regulation when vaccinations reach their limit in British Columbia, regardless of or this limit. be, ”says Rogers.
“Not everyone will get vaccinated, and the government shouldn’t be forcing them to do so, so how do the economy and businesses function in this long-term environment?” The government needs to involve businesses from across the province in this discussion, so we know what 2022 looks like. ”
The provincial government has said the program will run until the end of at least Jan.31. The Kelowna chamber is asking from an end date to be included in the ordinance that would require the consent of the legislature to extend any longer.
The House polled members from Thursday August 20 to Tuesday August 24. Over 25% (268) of the 1,000 Kelowna House members responded. The short survey asked them for their opinion on:
Do you support a vaccine verification system for non-essential activities?
RESULT: Yes 157 (57%) / No 97 (36%) / Not sure 18 (7%)
Are you considering any plans to restrict access to your business?
RESULT: Yes 84 (31%) / No 163 (61%) / Not sure 21 (8%)
Are you in favor of using an inexpensive rapid test kit if it was available?
RESULT: Yes 165 (62%) / No 63 (24%) / Not sure 40 (14%)