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Hamilton tattoo shop shut down for defying Ontario’s stay-at-home order

A tattoo shop on Hamilton’s Mountain that the city says failed to close under the province’s stay-at-home orders issued in early April has now been shut down by the province.

Emergency operations centre (EOC) director Paul Johnson says an application made by city legal teams to the ministry of the attorney general to close Kryptonian Ink came into effect on Monday.

“I am pleased that our folks have worked to make sure that there is going to be compliance from this business because it simply isn’t fair for businesses to skirt the rules and to remain open,” Johnson said.

Read more: Hamilton tattoo shop still operating despite multiple charges under COVID-19 emergency orders

For about a month and a half, the Concession Street shop received numerous visits from city bylaw officers and Hamilton police for staying open despite the province’s COVID-19 lockdown on personal care services.

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Johnson said the probe into the tattoo shop was the longest ongoing issue from a municipal law enforcement perspective amid the pandemic and that there was no “gray area” allowing it to operate.

“In this case, it is clearly a business that cannot be opened. There is no wiggle room here,” Johnson said.

Click to play video: 'Ontario beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions Friday' Ontario beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions Friday
Ontario beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions Friday – Jun 7, 2021

The EOC boss says the city reached out to the province after Hamiltion officials exhausted all local enforcement measures to shut the business.

“Clearly, this business was not going to reflect on why they should close again and wait for the legal reopening under the Reopening Ontario Act,” Johnson said.

“And so we just felt it was time to request that the ministry of the attorney general step in.”

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In a Facebook post on Friday, Kryptonian Ink owner Stephen Stacey was resigned to fact that he would not be able to keep his shop open and said he was moving forward to fight the injunction.

“I have now moved forward to contest these orders and will be battling our government with my last breath,” Stacey said.

“So for now, the shop will be temporarily closed until we get through this litigation.”

Stacey says he will be opening a GoFundMe account to pay for his legal expenses, saying he truly believes his rights have been infringed upon.

He told Global News in April that after closing down twice to comply with previous provincial orders amid the pandemic, the father of three said he simply couldn’t afford to do it again.

The owner said the year-long pandemic crushed his business, which he says is down 40 to 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels. He added that his operation had issues qualifying for programs like the Canada emergency wage subsidy (CEWS).

Read more: Hamilton tattoo shop’s licence suspended after defying Ontario’s stay-at-home order, says city

He also argued his shop was safer than some larger grocery and box stores since he has a smaller base of customers in his shop at a given time.

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Under the current provincial orders, personal care services like tattoo shops, hair salons and spas are not allowed to operate and will still not be able to reopen when the province eases some restrictions on Friday.

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