Those wanting to visit the city’s two main recreation centres now need to show proof of their vaccination status to contracted security personnel before entering either facility.
On Sept. 7, Campbell River city council approved up to $125,000 to provide ‘security hosts’ at booths outside the public entrances at two city recreation facilities: the Sportsplex in Willow Point and the downtown Community Centre. The funding will be allocated from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant the city received in November 2020.
The decision was made in response to B.C.’s new vaccine passport system, which requires those 12 and over to prove their vaccine status to access indoor fitness and recreation facilities, among other establishments.
These booths are necessary because as the rules are set, members prove their status before entering the facility, said Jason Decksheimer, the city’s fleet and facilities manager, during the meeting.
This means the public showing their proof of vaccination at the front counters of the facilities “simply isn’t good enough” to meet the intent of the order, he added. Proof of vaccination includes both the QR-code app and for now at least, physical proof of vaccination, meaning a vaccination card.
Operating the booths will be contracted personnel who have similar levels of training as security guards, but who are not necessarily certified as such, said Decksheimer.
Potential conflict with members of the public is one of the reasons why the city elected to hire contracted security personnel to conduct the checks, rather than city staff, he explained.
“The staff at the recreation centres, as you can imagine, maintain pretty healthy relationships with a lot of our clientele, and we do anticipate this is going to be a contentious issue with some of our clientele,” he said.
But having the two “entry checkpoints” occupied during operating times will also result in significant man hours — about 170 hours a week, he added.
“It is a fairly big add on to have to try and have our staff undertake that,” he said. “At this point, we simply don’t have the required staffing to man those check-in booths.”
For other city-owned buildings that are operated by a non-profit, the non-profit is required to oversee the proof of vaccination system, rather than the city. Examples of these are the Tidemark Theatre and library.
“Those organizations are wholly responsible to make sure that they’re compliant,” he said.