Both the Vancouver police and the RCMP are asking the public for voluntary compliance rather than confrontation when it comes to the new COVID-19 vaccine card.
VPD media relations officer Sgt. Steve Addison said two gyms called police Monday, the day the vaccine cards came into effect, after two customers refused to show their cards. He said there was “no public safety risk or criminal offence in either case” because the people eventually left without incident.
“We trust that business owners and staff will do their best to resolve conflicts that arise over vaccine passports,” he said by email. “We will attend if there is a public safety issue or a criminal act.”
RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Soihet said she’s not aware of any tickets being issued since the card came into effect. Soihet, senior media relations officer for E Division, said the RCMP isn’t tracking incidents where officers have been called relating to disturbances about the COVID vaccine card.
“We are hopeful enforcement will not be required and that voluntary compliance and co-operation will be the norm,” she said in an email. “The RCMP will continue to use a measured approach when dealing with calls related to COVID-19 non-compliance. Calls will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and our response will be based on this assessment and triaged based on current detachment operations.”
The vaccine card is required to enter restaurants, movies, ticketed sporting events, gyms and other non-essential venues. By Oct. 24, only fully vaccinated people will be able to access all those services and venues.
Businesses and groups that don’t comply with the public health officer order may be issued a violation ticket. Individuals could be fined $230 or $575. For owners, operators and event organizers, the fine could be up to $2,300.
E Division is the largest police body in the province with 144 detachments serving about 3.3 million people. Its 7,100 sworn members provide policing for all but 12 municipalities in B.C.
Soihet said police are asking people to respect the fact that businesses and owners are doing their best to get through the pandemic.
“There is no cookie-cutter approach that can be applied to each call, as such we will make an assessment based on the circumstances surrounding each incident,” she said.