Coronavirus: WorkSafe fines seven businesses for flouting COVID-19 rules

A Golden Bay cafe is the latest business to receive a large fine by WorkSafe for openly flouting COVID-19 requirements designed to keep its customers safe.

Seven businesses have now received fines. One Christchurch business has been given a second set of infringements, owing $44,000 all up, but is refusing to comply and continuing to operate.

Those WorkSafe has fined are:

  • Mad Cafe in Golden Bay
  • Oliver MMA Gym in Auckland
  • New Lynn's Lonestar in Auckland
  • My Barber in Rotorua
  • Hammerhead Tattoos in Mt Maunganui
  • Saint Sebastian restaurant in Masterton
  • Lotus Heart in Christchurch.

The owner of Golden Bay's Mad Cafe claimed to be a club outside of common law, saying they accept Koha, not payment. 

But when Newshub visited they appeared to be operating as a fully-fledged business serving locals and tourists.

And Rotorua's My Barber received fines because it refused to display COVID-19 signs, and security camera footage shows those working there told WorkSafe inspectors to repeatedly leave.

"Piss off, bro," one person says to the inspector.

"You work for WorkSafe, you don't work for me or anything bro. Come back later when I'm not working and cutting my customer's hair."

The barber owner then accused the Worksafe employee of harassment.

My Barber is one of a number of outwardly anti-mandate businesses still operating, and so far they've been fined $16,000.

"We don't discriminate against anyone, we welcome everyone," says My Barber owner Ants Haines.

He says a fine won't stop him from doing it his way.

"I'm not going to segregate because of a vaccine status," he says.

"If you want to get vaccinated to keep yourself safe then that's cool, but I'm not vaccinated, I'm choosing not to get it."

Rotorua locals Newshub spoke to weren't impressed.

"They should be shut down, end of story. I know business is doing it tough but they have to look after us just as we have to look after them," one person says.

"Businesses should have things like that on the window to keep the community safe," another adds.