No charges ‘at this time’ as inspectors visit packed, open restaurants

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Athena's Diner owner Tom Stoukas confronts inspectors from Lambton Public Health and the Ministry of Labour who were accompanied by the OPP when they arrived at his Petrolia restaurant Jan. 14

Tom Stoukas was angry and blunt when inspectors from Lambton Public Health, the Ministry of Labour and at least one OPP officer walked into his Petrolia restaurant.

Video posted on social media moments after it happened Friday shows the owner of Athena’s met the group at the door saying “I’m not doing the vax pass.”

Premier Doug Ford passed a law in October which requires restaurants to check to make sure diners are double vaccinated. It was originally supposed to be repealed Jan. 17, but then Omicron hit.

The inspectors were not there to deal with the vax pass; they were concerned Athena’s was open at a time when the Reopening Act prohibits any in person dining. They wanted him to shutdown the restaurant.

“I’m not gonna listen to you guys… this country is destroyed and … you guys are taking part in it… So do whatever you have to do,” said Stoukas.

The inspectors can be seen leaving the restaurant.

Inspectors also visited The Leaky Tank on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Friday. Owner Sherry Lee Stewart told investigators: “You’re on sovereign land killing off First Nations people, you’ve broken us up with the babies, you take them away and haul them off to their graves and nobody is accountable and now you’re trying to take put me into starvation.”

One of the investigators told Stewart they were there to inform them they were breaking the lockdown rules. And again, the group left, this time to catcalls from the customers.

Mike Gorgey at Lambton Public Health, in a written statement told The Independent: “At this time, no additional actions have been taken with respect to these operators. A joint agency enforcement group continues to work together with area municipalities to bring these operators into compliance with provincial legislation.”

By Tuesday night, the video of the inspectors at The Leaky Tank has garnered 1.3 million views on social media. The video from Athena’s in Petrolia has been viewed of 18,900 times.