Vancouver suspends business licences of 2 restaurants that defied COVID-19 closure orders

·2 min read
The Corduroy restaurant in Kitsilano has had its business licence suspended by the City of Vancouver for defying public health orders and an order to close. (CBC News - image credit)
The Corduroy restaurant in Kitsilano has had its business licence suspended by the City of Vancouver for defying public health orders and an order to close. (CBC News - image credit)

Two Vancouver restaurants that opened in defiance of COVID-19 health orders have had their business licences suspended and have been ordered closed until April 20 by the City of Vancouver.

Corduroy Lounge in Kitsilano and Gusto in the Olympic Village both violated restrictions against indoor dining last week and ignored closure notices issued by Vancouver Coastal Health.

"...I have concluded that your business is harmful to the health and safety of the community and guilty of gross misconduct," wrote Vancouver's chief licence inspector Kathryn Holm in her letters to each of the restaurants.

Holm said both Corduroy and Gusto risked further suspension if they do not comply.

"Pursuant to Section 4(3) of License By-law No. 4450, if you are convicted of carrying on business without a licence, you may be refused a business licence in the City of Vancouver for the next five years."

Two health inspectors were shouted out of Corduroy on Saturday by patrons chanting "get out," and then yelled at on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

Video taken inside by a local anti-mask activist shows a large group of people chanting "freedom" and milling between tables, maskless.

"I think the whole country was aghast at the behaviour of these restaurant owners who openly defied public health orders in the face of rising case counts and the spread of variants," said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement.

"The harassment and bullying public health officials experienced during the execution of their duties is completely unacceptable."

B.C. is going through another spike in COVID-19 cases, with one-day records set on both Friday and Saturday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced new orders on March 30 further restricting the operations of B.C. restaurants, religious groups and fitness gyms until April 19.

Henry said the province is experiencing exponential growth in COVID-19 transmissions and vaccinations haven't yet reached enough people to contain the spread.