Owner arrested at Etobicoke restaurant that defied COVID-19 restrictions, facing criminal charges

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The owner of an Etobicoke restaurant who reopened indoor dining earlier this week despite coronavirus restrictions was arrested Thursday and is now facing several charges.

Adam Skelly, owner of Adamson Barbecue, was seen being led away by police hours after officials changed the locks at his business.

“Today, he was advised not to enter the premises,” Toronto police Supt. Domenic Sinopoli said during an update Thursday afternoon.

“He attempted to enter the premises and pushed his way past a police officer. He was trespassed at that point in time and the officer saw fit to arrest Mr. Skelly with attempt to obstruct police.”

Sinopoli said officers believed the initial order to seize the premises from Toronto Public Health did not include a back portion of the facility and officers allowed Skelly back there.

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“During the process of him entering, they broke through the dry wall and entered the restaurant proper and then from the inside broke out and damaged the locks that were put in place by the City,” Sinopoli said.

Skelly is now facing one count each of attempt to obstruct police and mischief, both of which are criminal charges. He is being held by police overnight and will appear in court for a bail hearing Friday.

Sinopoli said Skelly was also charged with one count of failing to comply with a continued order under the Reopening Ontario Act and failing to leave when directed under the Trespass to Property Act.

Click to play video: 'Locks changed at Etobicoke restaurant defying COVID-19 lockdown orders'
Locks changed at Etobicoke restaurant defying COVID-19 lockdown orders

He also said a second arrest was made at the restaurant. Michael Belito Arana, a 27-year-old man from Markham, is facing one count of obstructing police, six counts of assaulting a police officer, two counts of uttering a death threat, and one charge under the Reopening Ontario Act.

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Arana will appear in court for a bail hearing Friday.

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Earlier in the week, Adamson Barbecue, located on Queen Elizabeth Boulevard near Royal York Road and The Queensway, reopened indoor dining and received a closure order from the city’s medical officer of health. Despite that, the restaurant opened again on Wednesday.

Skelly was charged with several provincial offences on Wednesday, along with the business itself, which could result in hefty fines.

It was alleged that indoor dining regulations were breached both Tuesday and Wednesday, the business operated without a licence, illegal gatherings were held, and a closure order from the medical officer of health was violated.

Posts on the restaurant’s Instagram account appeared to indicate they intended to open again on Thursday, with one reading “need locksmith & other hands at Etobicoke asap.”

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A large crowd gathered outside of Adamson Barbecue for the third day in a row along with a large police presence including officers from the mounted unit.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., police tweeted that most of the crowd at the restaurant had dispersed.

Meanwhile, Sinopoli said Toronto Public Health has now seized the entire premises of Adamson Barbecue, including the back of the business. A trespass notice will be posted warning people to stay off the property, including the adjacent parking lot.

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