FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – MLA Dan Davies believes the Province has continually “shot from the hip” throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn’t changed its tune with the newly announced vaccine passport.

“Monday, they made this massive announcement around the vaccines. And then Tuesday, they’re talking about the back-to-school program. Oh, by the way, masks are mandatory. I mean, it just seems like this is developing as they go with minimal planning,” says Davies.

Davies hasn’t put his phone down since the provincial government announced the passport on Monday as he works his way through a backlog of calls from residents.

” There are so many questions that I’m going to be taking [to the legislature],” says Davies. “We will be asking government these questions as best we can when we’re back in the legislature.”

Many businesses and organizations are speaking against the passport due to worries of the potential struggles that will follow once it comes into effect on September 13th. Many questions Davies has heard include frontline workers enforcing proof of vaccination, how the government came to this point, and businesses requiring workers to be vaccinated.

Davies and South Peace MLA Mike Bernier were expecting to meet with a few business owners on Thursday to answer any questions regarding the passport. They were met by around 100 concerned residents.

According to the province, one vaccine dose is required for entry into certain non-essential settings next month. By October 24th, people will need to be fully vaccinated at least seven days after both doses to access indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and outdoor patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres and casinos.

As of August 26th, only around 55 per cent of residents 12 and older in Northeast B.C. have received their first vaccine dose. Following the rules set out by the province, near half of northeast residents will be limited to mainly essential businesses unless they get vaccinated.

Peace region Chambers of Commerce have also spoken out against the passports and have said they don’t support the BC Chamber’s stance in favour of the passport.

In a release Tuesday, Patricia Adamson, president of the Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce, said neither the board of directors nor the membership were consulted by the provincial chamber.

“We believe this is an overreach of government into the already complex day-to-day operations of our small businesses,” wrote Adamson on Tuesday. “The board recognizes the daily challenges that our businesses are experiencing due to the pandemic restrictions, labour shortages, supply chain issues and weather-related impacts.”

“We also recognize the additional burden to employers who initiate and support a passport program compounded by the concerns of who will regulate and enforce customers as they enter their business.”

Davies said there were probably better options that would have had fewer impacts on businesses.

“[Horgan] had no intentions of introducing a vaccine passport. So, how did they get to this conclusion?”

A few months ago, Horgan also turned down the province using lotteries to encourage residents to get their vaccines.

“The premier, at the time, says no; we’re doing well. We don’t need to do anything.”

Davies says he will continue to bring up constituents’ concerns in the legislature and believes only time will tell if the passport was a good move on the provincial government’s part.

The full interview with Davies on Moose Talks will be available on both the Energeticcity and Moose FM Facebook pages at 10 a.m. on Friday.