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Oakville restaurant’s liquor licence suspended for not enforcing proof of vaccination

A sign posted out front of Zucchinis Cucina in Oakville, Ontario. The province has suspended the eatery's liquor licence and is moving to revoke it after officers discovered it was not in complinace with the Ford government's proof-of-vaccination policy. Facebook

An Oakville, Ont., dining spot has had its liquor licence suspended and could have it taken away for not following the province’s COVID-19 vaccine certificate policy.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission gave notice to Zuchinnis Cucina on Kerr Street of the sanction and its ongoing efforts to revoke the licence due to the eatery’s alleged failure to ask dine-in patrons for their vaccination status and identification.

The deputy registrar says the conduct is “inconsistent with the Liquor Licence and Control Act” and that there are “reasonable grounds” that the establishment will not carry on business in accordance with the law.

Read more: Ontario businesses, enforcement bodies brace for learning curve on COVID-19 vaccine certificate

“In November 2021, local municipal authorities inspected this licensed restaurant on a number of occasions for compliance with the ROA,” the agency said in its statement.

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“The AGCO understands that Halton Region Health Department Inspectors carried out the first inspection and observed that the establishment was not requesting dine-in patrons’ proof of vaccine and corresponding identification.”

The commission is also accusing Zuchinnis of directing “threats and profanity” against inspectors and instructing them to leave.

Officials also noted signage on a restaurant door in a Nov. 26 visit that indicated that the restaurant welcomes patrons irrespective of their vaccination status.

“When these officers spoke with the general manager, he confirmed the establishment does not request dine-in patrons’ proof of vaccination,” the AGCO said in its report.

On Dec. 2, staff at the restaurant confirmed to an AGCO compliance officer that the restaurant does not ask customers dining inside to confirm full vaccination status.

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Ontario’s vaccine certificate program took effect in late September and requires businesses like dine-in restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, sports facilities and other venues to check patrons for a full vaccination receipt.

Doctors’ notes for medical exemptions are also accepted.

In a number of social media posts on Facebook and Instagram in early September, Zuchinnis Cucina management made it known they would welcome unvaccinated diners.

Read more: Hamilton bylaw officers checked close to 50 businesses for vaccine verification compliance

“All are welcome, we do not discriminate against any customer regardless of sex, age, religion, creed or vaccination status,” the Sept. 11 Instagram post said.

As of Dec. 10, the post has received more than 2,300 likes.

Other posts in recent months include a Facebook entry that claimed the eatery would be “non-discrimitive in anyways” and another Instagram picture with noted anti-lockdown advocate Chris Sky.

“Thanks for the support and leading us!” the post read.

Fines for businesses and patrons for failing to comply with vaccine passport regulations range from $750 to $1,000, according to Halton Region staff.

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Business owners who don’t follow the rules may face fines of up to $10 million under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Global News has reached out to the restaurant’s management for comment. The business has yet to respond to our queries as of the publishing of this story.

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