Vancouver mayor calls for court injunction to close restaurant 'defiant' in the face of COVID restrictions

·2 min read
Corduroy restaurant in Vancouver held a protest against pandemic restrictions Friday with dozens of unmasked protesters blocking the sidewalk and the street.  (Corduroy restaurant/Facebook - image credit)
Corduroy restaurant in Vancouver held a protest against pandemic restrictions Friday with dozens of unmasked protesters blocking the sidewalk and the street. (Corduroy restaurant/Facebook - image credit)

Vancouver's mayor is threatening to use a court order against a restaurant in the city's Kitsilano neighbourhood that has previously defied public health orders.

On Friday evening, the Corduroy restaurant held a rally with dozens of unmasked protesters blocking the sidewalk and the street.

Owner Rebecca Matthews decried the health orders, which are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and spoke about their impact on small businesses.

On Instagram, the restaurant said the rally was to "to bring awareness to the incredible harm done to all small businesses this last year." The post goes on to say "the big guys" have made millions from small businesses being closed.

It wasn't clear if anyone was dining inside the restaurant Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, the restaurant appeared closed. Matthews did not respond to requests for comment.

Corduroy's business licence was suspended earlier this month after the restaurant violated orders and ignored closure notices.

Dozens of people attended the protest in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood Friday night.
Dozens of people attended the protest in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood Friday night. (Kevin Li/CBC)

'Exploring all avenues'

On Saturday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he was considering a court order to shut the restaurant down if it continues to stay open.

"I am exploring all avenues to put a stop to this — including a court injunction," said Stewart, in a tweet.

On Saturday, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said it is investigating the restaurant to ensure it's complying with public health orders. In a written statement, the health authority said establishments that defy health orders may face fines, as well as a closure order.

"VCH has issued a revised order along with an expectations letter to Corduroy Restaurant asking for an updated COVID-19 safety plan," the health authority said. "The order will not be lifted until the conditions are satisfied."

Vancouver Coastal Health says it has not heard from the owner.

'This is not going to end well'

B.C. extended indoor dining restrictions until the end of May.

Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Food and Beverage Association, said he was surprised the restaurant might still be defying the orders.

Tostenson said he reached out to the owner earlier this month to offer support and suggested some grants she could apply for, but she continued to defy the health orders anyway.

"I said, 'Rebecca, this is not going to end well for you because you can't be defiant to the people who offer business licences,'" he said.

"But the fact is that the way she's conducting herself is not going to do her any favours, and I don't want it to represent the hard work of the thousands of businesses that have done it the right way."

Tostenson said the health orders have been a "massive sacrifice" for so many restaurants, but most of them are trying their best to make do until the health orders are lifted.