Hamilton restaurant that vowed not to check vaccination gets 7 fines for violating Reopening Ontario Act

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Published November 9, 2021 at 7:53 pm

Nique restaurant was evidently not bluffing about  defying proof-of-vaccination requirements, but the Hamilton eatery will pay a price for the privilege of acting above COVID-19 protocols.

The City of Hamilton webpage that lists fines for COVID-19 enforcement shows that the restaurant was fined seven times last week. All seven fines were for violations of the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA), which places conditions on non-essential activities such as indoor dining. It was fined twice in five days for vaccine verification violations.

Nique was fined on Nov. 2 for failing to verify vaccination status under section 7.0.2 of the ROA.

Four days later, last Saturday, Nique was fined six times. Again, it was fined for vaccine verification violations. It was also found to have failed to conduct both contact tracing and required screening of customers and/or employees. The other three ROA violations were for failing to wear face coverings.

A fine for an ROA violation ranges from $750 to $1,500. A fine for breaking a city bylaw ranges from $200 to $500.

On Sept. 22, Ontario began requiring restaurants with indoor dining to check that patrons were fully vaccinated.

About five days later, Nique, which is owned by Harrison Hennick,  made it known that it would defy the COVID-19 protocols. It began using its social media channels to refer to the passport system as “segregating” while also spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Most public polling by credible pollsters indicated that support for proof-of-vaccination is in the 70 per cent range in Ontario, which did not create a system until after similar setups were in place in British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba. A digital vaxx record became available to residents starting on Oct. 22, although a hard copy is also valid.

The Ontario government, under Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, has said that the requirement will remain until Jan. 17.

Nique accounted for half of the 14 fines for violating were issued in Hamilton for the week of Nov. 1 to 7.

  • Samir’s Supermarket in Stoney Creek was fined on successive days, Nov. 1 and 2, both for face coverings violations. The second fine was levied under the ROA. It was the fifth time the Queenston Road market has been fined.
  • August 8 Sushi in Stoney Creek was fined under the ROA on Nov. 1 for vaccine verification violations.
  • Capelli Salon on Concession St. received a city-level fine for a face-covering violation. It was the second week in a row that the salon has been fine for violating the same bylaw.
  • Two James St. N. eateries, Five Star Café and Acadamia Hall Bar and Grill, were fined for face coverings violations on Nov. 6.
  • WPE Landscaping Equipment in Dundas was fined under the ROA on Nov. 2 for face coverings violations.

The City of Hamilton has issued 703 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act during the pandemic. Over 95 per cent, 671 to be exact, having been for non-compliance.

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