By Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough

Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can all do to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, over 85% of eligible people in B.C. have received their first dose of the vaccine, and over 77% have received two doses. These numbers are very encouraging, but we are not out of the woods yet.

When you choose to get vaccinated, you are choosing to protect yourself, your loved ones, your neighbours, and your community. You are choosing to protect kids who are too young to get vaccinated, and people who are immunocompromised and may not develop the same immune response or protection from the vaccine.

Soon, proof of vaccine will be required to access certain social and recreational events, services, and businesses in B.C. With rising case numbers, proof of vaccination provides an alternative to another round of business closures. Many industries and businesses have expressed support for this policy because it will give them stability and keep their customers and staff safer.

This vaccine requirement will apply to restaurants, bars, theatres, concerts, casinos, indoor sports events, gyms, post-secondary on-campus student housing, weddings and conferences with 50 or more people. You can find the full list of businesses, along with more details about the program, at gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard.

By choosing to get vaccinated, you are making the choice to support your local restaurants, gyms, and sports teams, and to attend indoor festivals, events, and celebrations in your community.

This requirement is not forever but it’s an important tool we need to use to keep people safe right now.

If you’re vaccinated, it’s easy to get your Vaccine Card. You can go online and save it to your smartphone, so it’s close at hand whenever you need it. Or you can print a paper copy and carry it in your wallet. If you don’t have access to a smartphone or a printer you can call 1-833-838-2323 to have a paper copy mailed directly to you.

For people who need information in another language, there are many options available. The website has information in Chinese, French, Punjabi, and Tagalog. The phone line offers translation in over 140 languages and is open from 7am to 7pm every day.

People who are visiting B.C. from another province can show their proof of vaccination from their home province. Those coming from outside of Canada can use the same proof of vaccination they used when entering the country. If you live in B.C. but you got one or both doses of vaccine somewhere else, you can easily update your record online.

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, including many of our favourite businesses and events. The vaccine card will allow us all to get back to a sense of normalcy and allow businesses to continue to serve people, with a much lower risk of transmission.

Once you’ve set up your vaccine card, I encourage you to get out and support your neighbourhood restaurants, see a local sports team play, or take in a concert.

Remember that this is a new system and we are all adjusting. Please be patient with workers while they incorporate this new step into their routine. Together, we are one step closer to putting this pandemic behind us.