Crowd rallies to support Hope, B.C. restaurant defying vaccine passport order

Click to play video: 'Supporters of Rolly’s restaurant rally in Hope, B.C.'
Supporters of Rolly’s restaurant rally in Hope, B.C.
A vaccine card-defying restaurant in the Fraser Valley saw a rally of support Saturday even though its owners are openly operating in the face of public health orders demanding the business close or face fines of $100 per day. Paul Johnson reports – Oct 16, 2021

About 100 people gathered in support of a Hope, B.C., restaurant that has continued to defy B.C.’s vaccine passport program on Saturday.

Rolly’s Restaurant has had its business and liquor licences suspended for refusing to check diners’ COVID-19 immunization status, as required under the BC Vaccine Card program.

Since then, the restaurant has kept its doors open, despite orders that it cease operations.

Demonstrators refused to speak with Global News, citing what they called “disgusting” reporting they claimed did not air “both sides” of the issue.

Read more: Restaurant in Hope, B.C. has business licence pulled for defying vaccine passport

Read next: COVID misinformation led to at least 2,800 deaths in Canada, $300M in costs: report

Attendees at the rally carried signs with messages ranging from “Keep Canada free” to “It’s not about your health, it’s about control” and “hoax.”

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One speaker, who identified himself as “Josh,” disputed the legal authority of health mandates and claimed the vaccine was “an experimental kill shot,” “child abuse” and “murder.”

Click to play video: 'Hope restaurant soldiers on despite license suspension for defying vaccine card'
Hope restaurant soldiers on despite license suspension for defying vaccine card

Out of more than 57 million doses administered in Canada, 195 people have later died after receiving one — with only six deaths conclusively linked to a vaccine side-effect.

How the restaurant remains in operation with neither a business nor a liquor licence remains unclear.

The District of Hope says under its bylaws it can fine the business $100 per day for operating without a business licence.

Read more: Court injunction could force Hope, B.C. restaurant defying COVID-19 health orders to close

Read next: U.S. FDA advisors back bivalent COVID vaccine for initial series, boosters

Health Minister Adrian Dix and the district have both previously suggested that enforcement now lies in the hands of Fraser Health, which could seek a court injunction to shutter the restaurant.

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In a statement, Fraser Health said it had issued “multiple violation tickets” to the restaurant for defying a closure order issued Oct. 7.

“We continue to work with our compliance and enforcement partners and the provincial health officer to explore all available enforcement options at this time,” it said.

Global News also reached out to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, but did not receive a response.

Click to play video: 'Hope restaurant defying vaccine passport rules'
Hope restaurant defying vaccine passport rules

The Eastern Fraser Valley remains the epicentre of COVID-19 transmission in the Lower Mainland.

Hope has Fraser Health’s highest daily case rate per capita and lowest vaccination rate, followed by Chilliwack.

Read more: Hope, B.C. restaurant’s vaccine defiance highlights region’s lagging immunization rate

Read next: WHO head ‘very concerned’ about COVID deaths as emergency declaration call looms

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The number of so-called “breakthrough” cases among fully vaccinated British Columbians has grown in recent weeks, now accounting for about one in three new infections.

On a per-capita basis, however, the vaccines’ effectiveness against COVID-19 remains clear. Unvaccinated people represented 273.3 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, compared to just 30.4 per 100,000 among fully vaccinated people.

People who aren’t fully vaccinated made up 68.3 per cent of COVID-19 hospital cases over the past two weeks, and 90 per cent of cases in intensive care on Friday.

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