The owner of a Gold Coast restaurant forced to close its doors for failing to abide by Queensland’s vaccine mandate says he is too scared to get vaccinated after battling a deadly infection for years. 

Sanctuary Cove restaurant Artichoke was issued a fine of almost $7,000 at the weekend for failing to comply with a health directive.

The venue touts itself as a high-end waterside restaurant and cocktail bar, located on the northern tip of the Gold Coast.

According to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), the business was warned and asked to undertake a number of activities “including making all reasonable efforts to confirm patrons’ vaccination status”.

The regulator said the licensees of the business made it clear they would continue not to comply with the direction, and as a result ordered them to close until the new year.

A group of restaurant diners.
Artichoke has been ordered to close for not abiding by health directions.(Facebook: Artichoke Restaurant and Cocktail Bar)

Owner ‘too scared’ to get vaccine

Artichoke owner Grant Madgwick told the ABC he would not get vaccinated out of fear for his health, having suffered from a deadly infection called Scedosporium prolificans for the past several years. 

While he has since been cured of the illness, he claims it wreaked havoc on his body and life for a long time.

“I’ve been through hell and my immune system just can’t handle it,” he said.

“I’ve had thousands of stitches, numerous hip replacements because it stuck to my bone, opened up 12 times, blood clots and taken away from an infected heart.

A man stands outside a waterfront restaurant in a pink shirt.
Artichoke has been ordered to close until January 3 “or until the business complies with the public health direction”.(ABC Gold Coast: Tara Cassidy )

Mr Madgwick said his experience with the illness had left him nervous to put anything, not just the vaccine, in his body.

“I’ve been sick, it would feel like Russian roulette for me,” he said.

“I’ve been trying to get an exemption from two doctors and they said no.”

Mr Madgwick estimates he will lose about $200,000 over the next week if his business remains closed.

He said about $60,000 will be lost from being closed on Christmas Day alone.

He says he has engaged lawyers and hopes to have the restaurant up and running again by tomorrow, so customers who have booked with him months in advance aren’t left disappointed on Christmas Day.

Boxes of food in a fridge in a cold room.
Mr Madgwick says he already has supplies for Christmas Day, and will lose $60,000 on that day alone if he can’t reopen.(ABC Gold Coast: Tara Cassidy)

Regulator says business closed until new year

In a statement, the OLGR said Artichoke had been ordered to close until January 3, 2022 “or until the business complies with the public health direction”.

“OLGR will continue to monitor the compliance of licensed venues with public health directions.”

The Queensland Police Service has been notified of the incident.

OLGR directives that are not complied with can be referred to the Queensland Public Health Unit, which can refer the matter to court.

A DJ pointing a sign with the restaurant's name, Artichoke.
The Sanctuary Cove restaurant was fined at the weekend.(Facebook: Artichoke Restaurant and Cocktail Bar)