Kingston bar's liquor licence suspended for violating Ontario's COVID-19 rules: AGCO

A Kingston, Ont. bar has had its liquor licence temporarily suspended after the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario alleges it violated Ontario's COVID-19 regulations, including the new vaccine passport.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario issued an Order of Interim Suspension of the liquor licence for J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, located on Progress Avenue in Kingston for "reasons of public interest and safety." The regulator is moving to revoke the liquor licence for the establishment.

The AGCO says the liquor licence suspension comes after City of Kingston bylaw officials charged the establishment with violations of the Reopening Act of Ontario.

The sign on the front of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays Sports Pub on Thursday said, "Say no to vax passports. All welcome at J.A.K.K's."

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says its Compliance Officials (COs) visited the establishment on Sept. 10 and met with the licensee, two weeks before Ontario's new COVID-19 vaccination passport was introduced.

"During the inspection, the COs provided education to the licensee regarding the requirements of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA)," said the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

"The licensee responded that he did not intend to comply with the ROA. There was signage posted at the establishment indicating that it would not comply with the ROA requirements."

After receiving several complaints regarding the establishment's non-compliance with the Reopening Act of Ontario, Kingston Bylaw officers visited J.A.K.K. Tuesdays on September 23 and "made observations of non-compliance," said the AGCO. On Sept. 24, Kingston Bylaw charged the licensee with violations.

"An AGCO CO attended the premises after the provincial offences notices were served on the establishment and on the licensee. The CO made observations and noted that the licensee continued to act contrary to the ROA," said the AGCO.

"As a result, the Registrar considers it to be necessary in the public interest to immediately suspend the liquor licence."

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

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it has issued a Notice of Proposal to revoke the establishments liquor licence for infractions of the Liquor Licence Act, including the requirement that the licence holder act and carry on business in accordance with the law.

The owner of J.A.K.K. Tuesdays, Kelly Hale, declined to comment to CTV News Ottawa on Friday.

Hours after the AGCO announced J.A.K.K Tuesdays liquor licence was suspended on Thursday, the Kingston pub said on Facebook it was hiring kitchen staff, servers and bartenders for days, nights and weekends.

"We are amazed with all the love and support from our community! And because of you we are in need of back and front staff," said J.A.K.K. Tuesdays on Facebook.

It also posted its "most recent menu."

Kingston bylaw declined a request to speak to CTV News Ottawa on camera on Friday.

"Bylaw Enforcement has laid two provincial offences notices in relation to the non-compliance with the requirements to show proof of vaccine at this establishment, one in the amount of $750 plus costs, and one in the amount of $1,000 plus costs," said the city in a statement.

"As the matters are before the court, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.