The City of Vancouver confirms it has suspended the business licences of two Vancouver restaurants for failing to comply with B.C.’s COVID-19 provincial health orders.
Suspension letters and Vancouver Coastal Health closure orders were posted on the front doors of Gusto’s restaurant and Corduroy Lounge.
Their licences have been suspended until April 20, Kathryn Holm, chief licence inspector for the City of Vancouver confirmed in a statement.
She said failure to comply with a licence suspension may result in violation tickets, revoking an existing business licence completely and refusing to grant a business licence for the next five years.
Vancouver police said a liquor co-ordinator and provincial health officers attended Corduroy Restaurant on Cornwall Avenue on Saturday and issued a full closure order.
But the restaurant remained open to diners when Global News attended Saturday night.
Video posted to Facebook on Saturday showed what appeared to be staff with Vancouver Coastal Health attending to speak with Corduroy owner Rebecca Matthews.
In the video, Matthews, who is unmasked and has an infant strapped to her chest, tells the inspectors she does not recognize their jurisdiction and that they are trespassing.
Diners at the packed restaurant then join in a chant of “Get out! Get out!” prompting the health officials to leave to cheers from the crowd.
Ian Tostenson, president and CEO and the B.C. Restaurant and FoodServices Association told Global News Monday the organization had spent some time with Matthews recently advising her of the grants and programs available to her to help support her restaurant during the pandemic.
“We can’t have this,” he said.
Gusto restaurant owner Federico Fuoco, who previously vowed to defy a provincial ban on indoor dining, said Saturday that he would “comply with the latest order.”
On Friday, Fuoco pledged to open his restaurant to indoor dining in violation of the province’s three-week “circuit breaker” restrictions.
Fuoco’s defiance led to a Vancouver Coastal Health closure order issued April 1 and on Saturday, Gusto was open again, albeit for outdoor dining only.
In a statement, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he thinks the whole country was “aghast” at the behaviour of the restaurant owners.
The harassment and bullying public health officials experienced during the execution of their duties is completely unacceptable,” Kennedy said. The City of Vancouver has taken swift and strong measures to close these restaurants and will pursue any future violations to the full extent of the law against these and other non-compliant businesses.
B.C. banned indoor dining for three weeks last Monday, as a part of a “circuit breaker” meant to curb a third wave of COVID-19 infection.
In a written statement, health officials said there were 1,018 cases between Thursday and Friday, and 1,072 cases between Friday and Saturday.