Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is opening the door to possible legal action against a restaurant that has repeatedly defied COVID-19 health orders.
On Friday night, Corduroy Restaurant held a rally opposing COVID-19 restrictions that its owner says are devastating small businesses.
Earlier this month, the restaurant continued with indoor dining, in violation of a public health order, prompting the city to suspend its business licence and the province to pull its liquor licence.
On Saturday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart took to Twitter to call continued defiance “unacceptable.”
“I am exploring all avenues to put a stop to this, including a court injunction,” Stewart wrote.
Vancouver police said they attended the protest to monitor and keep the peace, and that Vancouver Coastal Health was the lead agency with respect to closure orders previously applied to the business.
“We expect public health officers will again attend to assess whether the health order is being obeyed,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in an email.
B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson said the restaurant was giving the industry a black eye.
“We set a very high standard to allow restaurants to operate in B.C. and that’s really what kept our industry open longer than probably any other industry in North America, up until the variants got us a few weeks ago,” he said.
“When we have a situation where someone decides to sort of defy the industry or go against the great work the industry has done, it’s pretty hard for us to accept that.”
B.C. initially implemented its indoor dining ban for three weeks in March amid surging new COVID-19 cases. The restrictions were later extended until after the May long weekend.
The province offered initial grants averaging $5,000 to businesses but has not offered more support since the extension.
Corduroy owner Rebecca Matthews declined an on-camera interview with Global News the night of the protest, saying she feels she’s misrepresented by the media.
Earlier this month, video emerged of patrons in the restaurant defying health orders and chanting “get out!” at health inspectors deployed to speak with management.
British Columbia is struggling with its third wave of the pandemic amid the spread of highly transmissible new variants which have driven the number of people in hospital to record highs in recent weeks.
As of Friday, there were 8,842 active cases in B.C. including 486 people in hospital. More than 1,500 people have died of COVID-19 complications in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.