Four charged in Kemptville anti-lockdown ‘mask burning’ gathering

Editor’s note: This story has been updated at 9:20 a.m. Friday to add new details and clarify the number of people charged.

KEMPTVILLE – Four people and a business have been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act in connection with this month’s anti-lockdown “mask burning” protest at a Kemptville bistro.

Grenville County O.P.P. announced today (April 29) that “four individuals, including an organizer and the business” have been charged after the April 8 event drew an illegal gathering of roughly 200 people.

Const. Dave Holmes confirmed to Brockville Newswatch that the South Branch Bistro was the business charged. Holmes also confirmed that Randy Hillier was the organizer and three of his children were the ones charged as well.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario temporarily pulled the liquor licence for the South Branch Bistro on Clothier Street East earlier this month and was proposing to permanently revoke the liquor licence.

The AGCO alleges the restaurant was repeatedly defying the government-mandated shutdown by serving liquor by staff who were not wearing masks.

It was also the host site for the protest.

Police say the protest is still under investigation and more charges may be laid.

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