Castlegar Mayor Kirk Duff is hoping the province’s new vaccine requirements will motivate area residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Beginning Sept. 13, people will have to show proof of vaccination in order to enter restaurants, theatres and indoor events.
In the Castlegar health district, about 76 per cent of people over the age of 12 had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Aug. 25 while 67 per cent had received two doses.
People over the age of 50 have the highest vaccination rates in the city with 85 per cent having one dose and 80 per cent having a second dose.
In the 18 to 49 year old category, that number drops to 68 per cent with a first dose and 56 per cent with a second dose. For people between the ages of 12 and 17, the rate drops further to 56 per cent with a first dose and 43 per cent with a second.
The mayor is urging everyone to get vaccinated, but is especially encouraging the younger demographic that has those lower vaccination rates.
“Younger people … that went through the last 18 months relatively unscathed, it is harder to get them to do it because they didn’t think they really have to,” said Duff.
“The younger people need to realize the Delta variant is not going to bypass them and they need to do something about it. It’s too late almost to decide you should get vaccinated after someone you know or a family member has died from it.”
Duff is encouraging local business owners to stay open and give the new rules a try and not to give up too quickly.
“Businesses, whether they like it or not are going to have to embrace the rules and try to do the best they can.”
But the mayor says he has a lot of sympathy for the workers who are going to be tasked with enforcing the new rules.
He is encouraging customers to be patient and not to take out their frustrations on business owners and their workers.
“Know that the precautions and rules are there for a reason and if you want to go enjoy that nice meal at your favourite restaurant, just follow the rules and you’ll be fine,” said Duff.
“But sure as heck, don’t give the people that work there grief — it is not their fault. The line — we are all in this together — still applies.”