Restaurant owner slams police for sending undercover cop to his venue to check Covid-19 compliance


The furious owner of a major restaurant chain has blasted police after a plain clothes cop was sent into one of his venues to ensure it was Covid-19 compliant.  

Rashays founder Rami Ykmour criticised the actions of the NSW Police officers who entered his diner in Rhodes, Sydney, in a scathing TikTok video on Tuesday.   

Mr Ykmour claimed the officers had compromised the mental health of his staff while they checked if his restaurant was following the proper procedures. 

CCTV footage of the interaction shows one male and one female officer entering the restaurant, checking in and then showing their vaccination passports. 

In CCTV footage of the interaction a plain clothes officer flashes his police badge to staff

In CCTV footage of the interaction a plain clothes officer flashes his police badge to staff

The man then flashes his police badge to staff who are asked to prove their vaccination status and present the diners Covid-19 safety plan. 

‘I don’t know why it had to be so dramatic, why they had to get in the way of customers and why they had to approach the staff they way they did,’ Mr Ykmour said. 

Mr Ykmour said his chest tightened the first time he watched the footage, revealing his staff were already under a ‘tremendous’ amount of pressure ensuring government regulations were maintained. 

He said while the interaction played out there were four front-of-house staff working in the restaurant, which was mostly empty. 

‘You could see the panic in the staff. They can see there’s a police officer there, their heart rate is going through the roof,’ the restaurant owner claimed. 

The family-owned restaurant chain has 30 locations across NSW, ACT and Queensland

The family-owned restaurant chain has 30 locations across NSW, ACT and Queensland 

Rashays founder Rami Ykmour claimed the way police handled the interaction had compromised the mental health of his staff in the restaurant

Rashays founder Rami Ykmour claimed the way police handled the interaction had compromised the mental health of his staff in the restaurant 

The founder added the the major chain spent over $150,000 a week on rostering extra staff to ensure the proper Covid-19 procedures were followed. 

Mr Ykmour said he had since spoken to one of the workers who was involved and said ‘her mental health was not in a good way’. 

‘This is not the country we are. These are not the policies we need,’ he said. 

‘We are putting our police force in a position we don’t need to. We are putting our staff in a position they don’t need to be in.’

The restaurant owner said while he didn’t want to come across as a ‘sook’ he was ‘truly embarrassed for our future’ and wanted to ‘speak the truth’. 

‘It’s time for the pretenders to move out of the way, it’s time to stand up and fight for the people. Enough is enough,’ Mr Ykmour concluded.

Mr Ykmour (pictured) said he had since spoken to one of the workers involved in the interaction with police and said 'her mental health was not in a good way'

Mr Ykmour (pictured) said he had since spoken to one of the workers involved in the interaction with police and said ‘her mental health was not in a good way’

It comes just days after the restaurant owner claimed he was left 'disgusted' after an officer - this time in uniform - visited the same diner to check compliance (pictured, a Rashays branch)

It comes just days after the restaurant owner claimed he was left ‘disgusted’ after an officer – this time in uniform – visited the same diner to check compliance (pictured, a Rashays branch)

It comes just days after the restaurant owner said he was left ‘disgusted’ after an officer – this time in uniform – visited the same diner to check compliance.

The founder said staff were asked if they were double-vaccinated and if they were letting unvaccinated patrons through the doors. 

Mr Ykmour said the surrounding food court was packed with patrons who didn’t have to prove they were vaccinated. 

‘If that isn’t discriminating against small family businesses – who are dine-in restaurants, nothing is,’ he said.

In July, the Rashays boss was arrested after allegedly refusing to provide his details while two of his staff were fined for not wearing face masks at the company’s head office at Chester Hill.

Mr Ykmour claimed government regulations were discriminating against family businesses. He is pictured with wife Shannon and children (L-R) Aliyah, Zain, Amelia and Kameelah

Mr Ykmour claimed government regulations were discriminating against family businesses. He is pictured with wife Shannon and children (L-R) Aliyah, Zain, Amelia and Kameelah

Police allege two staff members were not wearing face masks and that co-founder Rami Ykmour, 46, became aggressive and refused to provide his details

Police allege two staff members were not wearing face masks and that co-founder Rami Ykmour, 46, became aggressive and refused to provide his details

Footage uploaded to Facebook shows Mr Ykmour speaking calmly with an officer at the front of the office after police were tipped off about a Covid-19 health order breach by an anonymous caller.

Police allege two staff members were not wearing face masks and that the Rashays co-founder became aggressive and refused to provide his details. 

In footage of the dramatic arrest an officer points to several staff at the head office reception he can see who are not wearing face masks.  

Mr Ykmour suggests the workers might have been eating lunch or blowing their nose and claims the staff members have since put on their face masks, insisting there is no longer an issue.

A staff member sitting behind reception desk begins to break down as the commotion escalates and later collapses onto the floor.   

The restaurant owner is told that he is under arrest before he is escorted out of the premises to the squadron of police cars parked in the driveway.

In footage of the dramatic arrest an officer points to several staff at the Chester Hill head office (pictured) who he can see are not wearing face masks

In footage of the dramatic arrest an officer points to several staff at the Chester Hill head office (pictured) who he can see are not wearing face masks

Mr Ykmour was arrested and issued a Field Court Attendance Notice for hinder police in July

Mr Ykmour was arrested and issued a Field Court Attendance Notice for hinder police in July

He was issued a Field Court Attendance Notice for hinder police. 

A NSW Police spokesperson said two staff members had been issued $200 fines for not wearing face masks.

Mr Ykmour previously told Daily Mail Australia he had only being trying to support his employees, but he did not blame police for how they handled the situation. 

‘There’s nothing that I’ve done wrong, except back my staff 100 per cent and I will always back my staff,’ he said.

‘The police were doing their job. That’s the way they saw it and it is what it is. We don’t want to criticise. It’s not time for criticising, that’s for sure.’ 

In September, Mr Ykmour (pictured with wife Shannon) vowed he wouldn't re-open his NSW branches until all residents had the same freedoms regardless of their vaccination status

In September, Mr Ykmour (pictured with wife Shannon) vowed he wouldn’t re-open his NSW branches until all residents had the same freedoms regardless of their vaccination status

In September, the founder vowed he wouldn’t re-open his NSW branches until all residents had the same freedoms regardless of their vaccination status.

Mr Ykmour said he didn’t want workers at his 27 restaurants across the state ‘facing arguments at the front door’ from October 11 when fully-vaccinated patrons are allowed to dine at his restaurants.

‘I’m happy small businesses can open up from October 11, including Rashays,’ Mr Ykmour said in a TikTok video shared on Monday evening.

‘But unfortunately we’re taking a stance not to open up until December 1 because we are all about being inclusive.

‘We are all about being inclusive. My staff have been trained for years to open everyone with open arms – I don’t want them facing arguments at the door about who can come in because of double vaccine passports.’



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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