A Kamloops gym owner said she disagrees with the vaccine card system the provincial government said it will be using as of Sept. 13, but will wait to see if other businesses join her before committing to defying the orders.
The proof-of-vaccination system would bar access to certain social and recreational settings and events to people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
B.C. residents will have to get at least one dose by Sept. 13 and two doses by Oct. 24 to attend indoor ticketed sporting events, concerts and other performances, restaurants (patio or indoor dining), night clubs and casinos, fitness centres, gyms and high-intensity indoor events, conferences, weddings, workshops and meetings and other indoor group-based events such as seniors' classes and choirs.
Ladies Only Fitness owner Delrae Kohnert said the coming system will limit her clientele. She wants businesses to be able to decide for themselves who they allow to enter.
"What they're doing is limiting business' income and it affects nobody else other than the small business," she told KTW.
Kohnert insisted she's not against vaccinations, noting she may yet comply with the coming vaccine card system, depending on how much support there is among the business community.
"Nobody said we're not going to comply. We're saying we don't agree with it," she said.
When asked if she is worried about being shut down by Interior Health, as other businesses have in Kelowna and other areas of the province due to lack of compliance with health measures, Kohnert said she will see how many other businesses come forward.
"So, whatever they come up with by Sept. 13, I can guarantee other businesses are going to come forward to be like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa,'" she said.
Another business that has declared it will not check patrons’ vaccination status is The Rock Eatery in Falkland, the Highway 97 community between Kamloops and Vernon.
In a Facebook post, the restaurant ownership stated: "We respect everyone’s privacy and do not discriminate under any circumstances. All are welcome @therockeatery.”
The restaurant ownership said the support has been “incredible,” noting reservations are fully booked this week and next week. The Facebook post has attracted more than 800 comments from the public as of Aug. 26, with support and opposition to The Rock Eatery’s stance.
When asked if she was worried about attracting unvaccinated people to her gym, Kohnert said she wasn't concerned, noting masks are still being worn inside and there's enough room to physically distance.
Kohnert said that confidence comes from the fact that she hasn't been notified of a case at her gym in the 1000-block of Victoria Street throughout the pandemic.
But the COVID-19 situation has changed drastically in B.C. since July, with cases once again skyrocketing. In the week of Aug. 15 to Aug. 21, Kamloops recorded its worst-ever COVID-19 weekly case count, with 193.
Following the provincial government's announcement of the vaccine card system on Aug. 23, the province saw a significant boost in registrations and appointment bookings.
B.C. saw a 175 per cent increase in daily registrations and an 88 per cent increase in bookings compared to the previous week. The following day saw a 201 per cent increase in registrations and a 124 per cent increase in bookings.
To date, 83.5 per cent of all eligible British Columbians ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75.4 per cent of residents have received two doses.
Cases, as of late, have been primarily among the unvaccinated. From Aug. 10 to Aug. 23, 83.3 per cent of cases and 85 per cent of hospitalizations were among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.