Burger joint first Hamilton business fined for vaccine passport violation


Published October 4, 2021 at 6:28 pm

A popular Hamilton burger restaurant has the distinction of being the first business in the city to be fined for failing to enforce vaccine passports.

The City of Hamilton’s coronavirus website shows that Empire Burger, a King Street East eatery, was fined by bylaw officers on Sunday (Oct. 3) for  “vaccine verification violations.” As of Sept. 22, the Reopening Act of Ontario (RAO) requires restaurants to ask patrons for photo identification and proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they dine indoors. Typically, an RAO violation will result in a $750 fine.

Empire Burger, located near the 300 block of King West, opened in the spring. Its menu refers to its more inventive creations as “Signature Soldiers,” with monikers such as, “Big Roman,” “Great Wall,” “Amsterdam Magic,” and “Garden of Babylon.”

Mountain Grill in Stoney Creek was also fined on Sunday for failing to complete contact tracing.

Several other eateries have been dinged by bylaw officers within the past few days:

  • The West End Diner on Main St. W. received five tickets in a single Saturday, including four for flouting the face coverings bylaw.
  • Valentino’s restaurant was caught not performing contact tracing.
  • The Master Coffee in Ainslie Wood East was double-dinged, for  not performing contact tracing and failing to set an indoor capacity limit.
  • And, back on Sept. 30, Hookah Café on Rymal Rd. E. got six tickets for breaching the physical distancing bylaw. Three were for failing to maintain a two-metre distance from another person, and three were obstructing an officer.

The 13-day-old vaccine passort rule is intended to allow businesses to stay open while trying to limit the spread of the Delta variant of the virus. Ontarians can download or print off their status through covid-19.ontario.ca/proof-covid-19-vaccination.

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