To help accommodators understand and implement the upcoming proof of vaccination (PoV) requirement set to begin on September 13, 2021, the BC Hotel Association (BCHA) provided the following update and guidance.
Along with the Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC), Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC), and Destination BC (DBC), BCHA is communicating with the provincial government to understand the upcoming requirement and to advocate for industry members. An updated toolkit for industry members is being produced and will be shared as soon as available.
The Government of BC has yet to release specific operational information for the PoV requirement; however, in the recent BCHA newsletter, the following steps were outlined to help accommodators prepare:
- STEP 1 | CHOOSING A PoV POLICY
- Prior to September 13, accommodators will need to determine what their proof of vaccination policy is. While it is not essential for them to do so, accommodators can introduce their own policy.
- The main options are outlined below.
- OPTION 1
- Make no vaccination requirement for either staff or guests to work or stay at the property
- NOTE: Public spaces are mandated for masks, and therefore policies to control masks remain in place.
- OPTION 2
- Require that ALL employees AND guests be fully vaccinated in order to work and stay at the property
- OPTION 3
- Require that all guests be fully vaccinated in order to stay at the property – Employees can remain unvaccinated
- OPTION 4
- Require that all employees be vaccinated in order to work at the property – guests can be unvaccinated to stay at the property
- OPTION 1
- For options 2, 3, and 4, operators will need to take action to develop and implement their chosen policies. The BCHA will be creating templates to better assist operators in this process. In the meantime, the Business Council of British Columbia and the team at Roper Greyell prepared an informative overview on the shifting public opinion and evolving legal landscape. Read the brief here.
- STEP 2 | DEVELOPING PROTOCOLS SURROUNDING PoV POLICY
- Many of you reached out with questions on how the vaccination checks would work as you may have areas on property -- like breakfast rooms, fitness centres, meetings spaces, etc. -- that would require proof of vaccination in order to use. The BCHA is acutely aware of workforce crisis we are dealing with. It would be unreasonable to expect that workers be stationed at each point of entry, which would also create multiple points of potential confrontation for workers. The contentiousness of this program is a burden we certainly do not want our workers to bear. We will be including best practices for developing protocols and sharing it with you as soon as we have the necessary information from PHO.
- Because of this, the BCHA is advocating that any accommodator offering services where proof of vaccination would be required, check for BC Vaccine Cards at the point of check-in, and only then. Should you wish to move forward with a vaccination mandate for guests, we also encourage PoV check at check-in; employee-mandated vaccinations will need to be done internally.
- STEP 3 | COMMUNICATING ON YOUR CHANNELS
- Clear communication to both guests and staff will be fundamental to ensuring that this transition goes smoothly. All of this information, key messages, and further details will be included in the forthcoming PoV Toolkit and will be available as soon as the specific information from the Ministry of Health is available.
- Operators will need to clearly communicate their proof of vaccination policy:
- on their website
- at time of online booking
- vocalized at time of over-the-phone or in-person booking
- in a pre-arrival email
- with signage posted at entryways and in-front of any PoV-required setting i.e. fitness centre, breakfast room, meeting space, etc.
- with OTA's and third-party booking platforms
Once completed, the industry toolkit will be available on the BCHA website. For more information about the organization’s ongoing advocacy work specific to the PoV requirement, contact a member of the BCHA team.
Information from the Government of BC can be found on the Proof of Vaccination webpage.