Public health investigating Lower Sackville restaurant for allegedly flouting pandemic guidelines
LOWER SACKVILLE, N.S. -- Public health is investigating complaints that a restaurant in Lower Sackville, N.S., may not be following its health orders and requiring staff to wear masks.
"We welcome department of health to come out. We have nothing to hide," said John Giannakos, the owner of Hellas Restaurant.
On Friday, some staff weren't wearing masks, or the bandanas that sometimes covered their face instead. Bandanas the province confirms are not proper PPE.
"My staff are wearing a protective covering over their face," Giannakos said.
When talking to patrons inside after the interview, Giannakos was not.
Masks are now mandatory in restaurants, unless you're eating.
One man complained about the lack of masks online.
The restaurant told him: "Best you go elsewhere for your safety."
"This is Canada, you can go anywhere you want," Giannakos said.
When hundreds more weighed in the restaurant called it
"good free publicity."
Publicity that's made its way to public health.
"We've already asked that we send out our restaurant and occupational health and safety inspectors to that establishment," Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health said Friday. "If we become aware of blatant disobedience, we'll act very swiftly."
When asked if he'd been ticketed or fined for he and his staff not wearing masks, Giannakos replied: "Well, if we weren't wearing masks, we should've been ticketed a long time ago. We're waiting to be ticketed to make a point."
Later in the day, the RCMP showed up and a public health officer.
Before the Mounties arrived, a new sign appeared on the door asking patrons to wear masks. Also, on the door, there's a reminder for people to stay two metres apart.
PlexiGlas is at the counter and hand sanitizer available inside.
"We're having politicians and bureaucrats running our lives, telling us what's good for our health," Giannakos said. "Is that really freedom?"
The province says if a business is unwilling to comply with the Health Protection Act, penalties range from a warning to fines or possibility shutting a business down.