Public health authorities in Toronto have hit a BBQ joint with a series of new charges after the owner refused to abide by new restrictions against indoor dining.
The owner of Adamson Barbecue in the suburb of Etobicoke reopened his restaurant for dine-in services on Wednesday, despite threats of fines or even jail time for violating provincial lockdown orders and after his business was forced to close on Tuesday.
Licence and Standards have charged the restaurant and its director on bylaw infractions for operating without an official license (a fine of up to $50,000 for a cooperating and up to $25,000 for a director) and for the second time in as many days, Toronto Public Health has since laid a charge against Adamson Barbecue.
It’s not clear if owner Adam Skelly is the director.
Under Ontario’s Reopening Act, Skelly is facing a separate charge. Skelly reportedly said that he plans on returning to his restaurant for a third-straight day on Thursday.
Toronto’s medical officer of health sent in an order to shut down Adamson Barbecue on Tuesday after the restaurant’s owner defied provincial lockdown measures and hosted patrons for indoor dining.
Police arrived at the location around the time the restaurant opened its doors on Wednesday. They could be seen talking to Skelly inside Adamson Barbecue.
A snapshot of some of those arriving here today to support Adamson BBQ. Here’s a COVID denier arriving with “snap out of it, it’s a flu” pic.twitter.com/deqJInANPw
— Adrian Ghobrial (@CityAdrian) November 25, 2020
Bylaw officers and members of the police force also attended the restaurant on Tuesday, saying charges would be laid sometime this week.
Toronto and Peel Region entered the ‘lockdown’ stage of the province’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday.
The new restrictions mean all indoor and outdoor dine-in services at restaurants and bars is prohibited. Establishments can still offer take out or delivery services.
An irate premier Doug Ford responded to Skelly ignoring provincial lockdown measures after a toned-down Ford showed sympathy for the small business owner on Tuesday.
“I was nice to the guy yesterday, but buddy let me tell you something. You need to shut down,” Ford said.
“You’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy. I always try and be nice the first time but this guy is just totally ignoring public health officials. That’s how this spreads. That’s how we get out of hand like the U.S. and people are dying because of COVID-19.”
“It’s absolutely irresponsible and ridiculous,” Ford added.
An increased number of officers have been deployed in recent weeks to crack down on businesses found not to be compliant with pandemic regulations.
If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Act.
Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000.
Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year.
The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.