Hamilton restaurant that fought vaccine mandate is now bankrupt


Published January 6, 2022 at 8:25 pm

Once defiant of vaccine mandates, a Hamilton restaurant has been done in by debts.

Nique restaurant, owned by Harrison Hennick, filed for an “assignment in bankruptcy” on Dec. 29, according to a publicly posted notice of insolvency. Social media posts that were shared on r/hamilton also said it has closed and cancelled diners’ New Year’s Eve reservations. The notice said a meeting of creditors of the business will be held later this month in Burlington.

In late September, the Vine St. eatery and owner Harrison Hennick gained attention by making it known through social media that it would not check proof of vaccination for indoor dining, which was required by Ontario COVID-19 protocols. In Instagram posts, Nique claimed COVID-19 vaccines were “ineffective” and falsely claimed that Croatia had banned the COVID-19 vaccines.

The restaurant was later temporarily closed amid an Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation. Also, in early November, Nique received seven fines in one weekend under the Reopening Ontario Act for breaching COVID-19 protocols. It was fined twice for vaccine verification violations, and was also found to have both failed to conduct both contact tracing and required screening of customers and/or employees.

One instance of Nique’s response to critics was calling them part of “a population of people convinced by the government that this (COVID-19) s— is as real as they make it.”

City of Hamilton data shows 427 people have died with COVID-19 in the city in the past two years. Currently, the 7,280 active cases in the city represents almost one-fifth — 19.9 per cent, based on the latest data — of Hamilton’s case count since the beginning of the pandemic almost two years ago.

While risk-assessment statistics should be interpreted with caution, the risk of COVID-19 infection among the unvaccinated population in Hamilton is 1.9 times higher than it is for the fully vaccinated population. (The risk was 2.5 times as high as recently as Dec. 31.)

The risk of hospitalization is 9.4 times higher, and the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit is 16.1 times higher for the unvaccinated people than it is for the fully vaccinated. The risk of death is 7.4 times higher.

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