vaccine passport ontario

Ontario restaurant gets liquor license suspended for failing to check vaccine passports

Wings have been in the news a lot recently, but now an Ontario location of a chicken chain has had their liquor license suspended for failing to check vaccine passports and enforce masking regulations.

Wild Wing at 366 North Front St. in Belleville was issued an Order of Interim Suspension for their liquor license by the registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on Nov. 10, which took effect immediately.

The suspension was for "reasons of public interest and safety." The registrar also issued a Notice of Proposal to remove the liquor license for infractions of the Liquor License Act.

People dining inside bars and restaurants in Ontario are currently required to show proof of vaccination by the government. The license holder at the Belleville Wild Wing was contacted by the AGCO in September and October to educate them and monitor their compliance.

During a conversation on Sept. 29, AGCO Compliance Officials say they intended to educate the license holder on the Reopening Act. The license holder said at the time that she doesn't require proof of vaccination for entry and doesn't require people to wear face masks inside.

The Belleville restaurant posted to its Instagram that very day, writing, "We have been advised by the AGCO that due to us not requesting vaccine status of all diners we will likely have our liquor licence revoked. Permanently."

"Obviously being a bar we need a liquor licence," the caption to the post continues. "We are really sad about this decision but the stress we have felt daily since all of this started is beginning to feel unbearable."

The post continues on to say that the restaurant would still be open for takeout and delivery, calling the potential revocation a "sad turn of events."

The compliance officials also observed continued non-compliance during two follow-up visits in October.

On Oct. 22, the Belleville Wild Wing posted a screenshot to its Instagram of an Oct. 21 interview with the owner in Rebel News showing the owner holding the We Won't Ask stickers created by the site.

Text accompanying the screenshot reads "We will not ask you any questions or not let anyone in."

On Nov. 9, a CO observed people exiting and entering the Wild Wing without proof of vaccination and ID being checked, and the manager told the CO staff don't ask for these things or wear masks even though they're aware of requirements.

The registrar considers the immediate suspension of the restaurant's liquor license necessary as there are grounds to believe the license holder won't be carrying on business in accordance with the law.

"Enhanced vaccine certificates, as well as the verification app help businesses stay open and keep their customers safe," says AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham.

License holders who don't meet Liquor License Act requirements can face monetary penalties before their license can be suspended or eventually revoked. A Notice of Proposal can be appealed to the License Appeal Tribunal which is independent of the AGCO.

Lead photo by

Wild Wing Bellville

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