Lower Sackville, N.S. restaurant owner found guilty of violating Health Protection Act
HALIFAX -- A 62-year-old restaurant owner from Middle Sackville, N.S. has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine after being charged by the RCMP in January with failing to wear a mask in public.
CTV News has confirmed that John Giannakos, owner of Hellas Restaurant in Lower Sackville, N.S., appeared in court on April 22 and was found guilty of failing to wear a mask in public.
Even after his conviction in court, Giannakos says he won’t follow the judge’s orders.
“There’s no way I’m paying this fine,” said Giannakos. “I’d rather go to jail for a week… because I get three meals a day and a roof over my head.”
The guilty ruling comes after Giannakos was involved in a series of controversial social media posts and confrontations with Health Protection Act enforcement officers.
"We welcome department of health to come out. We have nothing to hide," Giannakos said to CTV reporters on Jan. 8. "We're having politicians and bureaucrats running our lives, telling us what's good for our health. Is that really freedom?"
On Jan. 9, Giannakos said he had been fined in a post on the Hellas Restaurant Facebook page.
“A lot of people have been badmouthing me and my restaurant, but I don’t care,” says Giannakos. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Public health killed restauarants and bars 12 months ago.”
On Sunday afternoon, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin announced the fines for gathering in violation of the Health Protection Act were increased to $2,000.
"We were relieved to hear that the police acted quickly and issued fines," said Rankin during Sunday’s news update. "But, the current fine does not seem to be enough of a deterrent."
However, a Nova Scotia RCMP spokesperson confirms that individuals charged before April 25 still face a $1,000 fine.
RCMP reminds the public that Nova Scotians, businesses and organizations that do not follow gathering limits, social distancing guidelines and self-isolation requirements, will now face fines of $2,000 for individuals and $7,500 for businesses and organizations.