Aaron Scally says B.C.’s vaccine card is hurting business at his brewery in Duncan. He’s one of multiple business owners in the Cowichan Valley who say the province should now scrap the program.
“When the vaccine card came into effect, we saw an almost immediate 30 per cent drop in business,” Scally told CTV News.
The owner of Small Block Brewery says anyone who was going to get vaccinated because of the vaccine card has already done so, and the widespread transmission of the Omicron variant among and between vaccinated people suggests excluding the unvaccinated doesn’t stop the spread.
“Three of our staff members here contracted COVID,” Scally said. “All three of us are fully vaccinated. And we contracted it from a fully vaccinated, vaccine-card-carrying customer.”
Bruce Findlay owns the Lions Rampant Scottish Pub in Maple Bay. He’s similarly convinced it’s time to drop the vaccine passport in B.C.
“They all say follow the science, and we believe that the science is now saying the passports don’t make sense,” Findlay said.
Alberta ended its vaccine passport system last week, and Saskatchewan is set to do the same soon.
B.C.’s program looks set to continue a while longer, however.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked whether the B.C. Vaccine Card still serves a purpose during a news conference last week. Her answer was unequivocal.
She insisted that vaccinated people are still less likely than the unvaccinated to become infected with Omicron, especially if they’ve had a booster shot.
Beyond that, those who do become infected are far less likely to need hospital care, Henry said.
“There’s still a risk that people who are fully vaccinated may transmit Omicron to each other,” she said. “But we also know very clearly now that they’re very unlikely to end up with severe illness.”
Some of B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions are scheduled to expire this week, and Henry has indicated that changes to provincial health orders are coming.
The B.C. Vaccine Card is not one of the expiring programs, however. It’s currently scheduled to last until June 30.
With files from CTV News Vancouver Island’s Robert Buffam