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Patrons refusing to show vaccine card is no reason to call 911: E-Comm

Unless things turn violent, if someone’s refusing to show their B.C. vaccine card at your business it’s not a reason to call the police.

So says a spokesperson with E-Comm, the emergency communications centre responsible for answering nearly all of British Columbia’s 911 calls.

“E-Comm has seen a very small number of calls related to the COVID-19 immunization record requirement that came into effect [last] week, primarily from businesses looking to report individuals who are unwilling to provide their vaccine card,” Kaila Butler tells our newsroom.

That said, Butler is once again reminding B.C.’ers that 911 is for emergency situations where life or property is in jeopardy.

“Unless there is an immediate risk to public safety, such as someone causing a disturbance or acting aggressively, non-compliance related to immunization records should not be reported on emergency lines,” she adds.

Last month, National Police Federation President Brian Sauvé voiced his concerns about vaccine card enforcement following comments made by Premier John Horgan at an Aug. 27th press conference.

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Horgan noted businesses faced with conflict in regards to proof of vaccination should handle it just how they would any other confrontation. “If they have difficulty with patrons, they call law enforcement,” he said.

READ MORE: Police union ‘concerned’ about B.C. vaccine card enforcement

While Sauvé said the RCMP will continue responding to calls, he finds members are being asked to do more and more, all the while facing a lack of additional resources and funding.

“And now the Premier wants our already over-stretched members to respond to vaccine passport disputes at restaurants, movie theatres, and sporting events,” added Sauvé.

Proof of vaccination first came into effect last Monday, Sept. 13th. Eligible B.C.’ers 12 and older now need at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend social and recreational settings and events. By Oct. 24th, they’ll need both doses.

RELATED: Anti-vaccine card rally draws large crowd in downtown Campbell River

According to B.C. health officials, as of last Friday, Sept. 17th, 86.5 per cent of eligible people 12 and older in the province have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine with just under 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

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