Locks changed at Kingston, Ont. bar following alleged violations of COVID-19 regulations

KINGSTON, ONT. — Police have changed the locks at a Kingston, Ont. bar after the business allegedly violated Ontario’s COVID-19 regulations, including failing to check patrons for proof of vaccination.

It’s the latest move against J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, which has had its business license suspended by the city of Kingston and its liquor licence permanently revoked by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The region’s medical officer of health issued a Section 22 order directing the establishment to follow COVID-19 measures or close.

The ACGO announced late Friday afternoon that the independent License Appeal Tribunal directed it to carry out the registrar’s proposal to revoke the liquor license for J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, located on Progress Avenue in Kingston.

The AGCO says the revocation of the liquor license means the operator cannot legally sell or serve alcohol in the establishment. 

Kingston police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Koopman told CTV News Ottawa in an email that the locks were changed Saturday morning.

“We arrived at approximately 5:40 a.m. whereupon the owner, Mr. Kelly Hale, was speaking to us through the locked front door with supporters, but originally refused to open the door. While police were gaining access to the rear door Mr. Hale became compliant and allowed us entry through the front entry. There were approximately 10 people inside who were mainly cooperative and vacated at our request,” Koopman said. “The Sheriff was able to serve and read the Court Order to Mr. Hale, he was allowed to gather some of his belongings, and was also escorted out. The locks were successfully changed and the premise secured.”

Koopman added that no one was arrested or charged Saturday morning.

The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington public health unit says the doors are to remain locked until the matter is heard by the court. 

In September, the AGCO suspended the establishment’s liquor license for J.A.K.K. Tuesdays for “reasons of public interest and safety.”  The AGCO said the move came after Kingston bylaw officers charged the licensee with violations after officers “made observations of non-compliance” on Sept. 23.

Kingston bylaw told CTV News Ottawa that officers issued two provincial offences notices in relation to the non-compliance with the requirements to show proof of vaccine at the establishment.

As of Sept. 22, Ontario requires proof of vaccination to enter non-essential businesses, including indoor dining.

Last week, the city of Kingston suspended the business license for J.A.K.K. Tuesdays and KFL&A medical officer of health Dr. Piotr Oglaza issued a Section 22 order to decrease or eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the establishment.

“The requirements of the order are to comply with all applicable COVID-19 safety measures as outlined in Ontario Regulation 364/20 and remove all signs promoting and advertising non-compliance with COVID-19 safety measures or close the establishment,” said the health unit in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

The KFL&A Public Health unit says public health inspectors confirmed continued non-compliance with the requirements of the Section 22 order on Nov. 5, 8 and 9 at J.A.K.K. Tuesdays.

The health unit adds it was successful in its application to the Superior Court of Justice for an injunction to uphold the requirements of the Section 22 Order for J.A.K.K. Tuesdays.

“The matter is now with the Provincial court. KFLA Public Health will continue to work with the owner/operator of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays Sports Pub Inc. and local authorities to gain compliance with the order and mitigate the risk of communicable disease transmission at this facility and in our community,” said KFL&A Public Health.

Fines for non-compliance of the Superior Court of Justice Order is a maximum of $5,000 a day for an individual and/or $25,000 for a corporation.

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Kimberley Johnson.

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