About 50 people lined the street in front of Port Alberni’s city hall Wednesday, Sept. 1 to protest new COVID-19 measures, especially the impending vaccine card program.
Port Alberni’s sign-wavers elicited honks in support from passing motorists as well as comments from people who didn’t agree with their point of view.
“Just get the shot,” one man said as he alighted from a transit bus near the end of the line of protesters.
The protest was one of several held across B.C. on Wednesday afternoon, with a large protest held in front of the legislature in Victoria. Several hundred also gathered at Cowichan District Hospital.
A handful of people with placards were in front of West Coast General Hospital earlier in the afternoon, urging people to join them at the larger rally at city hall.
A woman who wouldn’t give her name said she is a small business owner in Port Alberni and organized the local protest. She said she wanted to support fellow business owners who have been put in an awkward spot by the province’s plan to enforce a vaccination passport.
— Island Health (@VanIslandHealth) September 2, 2021
Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new COVID-19 restrictions on Aug. 30. Seventy percent of the surge of new coronavirus cases in B.C. are in unvaccinated people aged 20 to 40, Henry said.
The vaccine card will come into effect Sept. 13 and will restrict people who do not have at least one vaccination from entering non-essential businesses including indoor ticketed events, bars, restaurants and fitness centres. People wanting entry to those businesses or events will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 24.
People in front of city hall, some wearing masks, waved signs related to freedom of choice. Comments of “I’m anti-passport,” and “I’m not anti-vax, I’m pro freedom” could be heard.
Signs featured slogans like “Pro choice: my body, my choice”, “No vax passports,” “Coercion is not consent” and “I choose unity.”