Today, the Government of British Columbia announced that anyone entering several types of businesses will need to provide proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 virus. These businesses include indoor ticketed sporting events and concerts, restaurants (patio or inside dining), fitness centers and gyms, and many other locations.
UFCW 1518 is concerned that grocery stores, retail environments, and cannabis stores were not included in the government announcement. Workers in these stores have been reporting that mask-wearing in-store has been declining since the mandatory mask mandate ended in July. More disturbingly, many workers have told the union that they have encountered unmasked members of the public who informed them that they are unvaccinated.
UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak sent a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix asking that mask mandates be reinstated in stores that are not covered by the mandatory vaccination order. President Novak further asked that stores be required to reinstate crowd control measures like wayfinding arrows to minimize contact between workers and members of the public.
The union is also seeking clarity on whether stores that have restaurants and seating areas for cafes will be included in the mandatory vaccination order.
UFCW 1518 strongly encourages all members who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the public.