Oliver MMA gym fined thousands after knowingly letting unvaccinated staff work

An Auckland MMA gym that continued operating without implementing vaccine requirements has been fined $12,000.

WorkSafe issued the infringement notice to Oliver MMA, saying the gym knowingly allowed unvaccinated staff to carry out work.

Head of general inspectorate Simon Humphries said this was the first Covid-related financial penalty handed out by WorkSafe since New Zealand moved to the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

“Egregious breaches like this will be treated seriously,” Humphries said.

“This business has continued to operate in breach of the rules. That’s not fair to the high number of businesses and organisations who have changed how they operate to keep people safe.”

He said the gym also continued to make its stance known on social media and in comments to media organisations.

“It’s clear they aren’t meeting the requirements and haven’t intended to up to this point.”

Owners of the New Lynn gym, Steve and Krissy Oliver, told the Herald earlier this month that they would remain open for their community and families who have been turned away elsewhere because of the vaccine mandate.

“We are being approached on a daily basis by people who are experiencing extreme mental health distress,” Steve Oliver said.

“We care about them and have put in extra measures to ensure that we are helping them to get the right support and to be there for them.”

Under the new traffic light system that came into play on December 3, gyms, hairdressers and other close contact businesses are required to check vaccine passes and only vaccinated people can enter.

Gym and hair salon staff along with hospitality and events workers also need to be vaccinated.

Humphries said the overwhelming majority of businesses and organisations are doing what’s required of them and WorkSafe has received a relatively small number of concerns.

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