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Vancouver eatery flouting COVID-19 rules 'packed all night': owner

Last Updated Apr 3, 2021 at 12:22 am PDT

(Courtesy Facebook/CorduroyRestaurant)
Summary

The owner of Corduroy is defying an order banning indoor dining

Minister Mike Farnworth says businesses that do not follow the order risk losing their licences

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Kitsilano restaurant that stayed open Friday despite B.C.’s order banning indoor dining has been “packed all night,” according to the owner.

B.C. health officials ordered restaurants to halt indoor dining for three weeks starting March 30. Patio service and takeout are still allowed. When announcing new restrictions, Dr. Bonnie Henry said they were necessary to curb surging case numbers. On March 31, B.C. recorded 1,013 new cases — the highest-ever number in a single day.

Speaking to a rally that drew about 200 people to the streets of downtown Vancouver, Rebecca Matthews, owner of Corduroy, announced her plans to open her restaurant at 4 p.m. She invited attendees to “come down and have some food inside,” drawing cheers from the crowd.

In her speech, she questioned the accuracy of COVID-19 testing, railed against the media, and said she has “lost all trust in our government.”

At around 9:30 p.m., Matthews told NEWS 1130 things were “going great,” the eatery remained busy, and no enforcement action had been taken.

Earlier in the day, another Vancouver restaurant was ordered to close by Vancouver Coastal Health after the owner similarly publicized his intention to flout the rules.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has said these businesses are not only risking fines of $2,300 and penalties from WorkSafeBC  — they’re putting their licence to operate in jeopardy.

“It’s just mind-boggling that people still don’t get it,” he said.

“The health orders are there for a reason. They’re based on science, they’re based on medical evidence.”

Enforcement action can be taken by police, city by-law officers, WorkSafeBC, and the health authority.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to all of the above for comment.

With files from Martin MacMahon