VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Kitsilano restaurant that has been inviting customers to eat indoors — despite a ban on indoor dining — is closing its doors but only temporarily.
Corduroy Restaurant defied the latest public health order two nights in a row over the long weekend and was ordered to close during the second night, on Saturday, when visited by Public Health Officers and Vancouver Police officers.
A video on Facebook has surfaced of the visit. Customers can be heard rallying behind the owner, chanting at the two health officers to “get out.” When the pair finally leave the restaurant, the customers applaud.
Corduroy Restaurant kept operating the rest of the night and while it now says it will be closed for Sunday and Monday, the closure is not because of the shutdown order.
On Instagram, a post from the restaurant says it will be closed for two days because it has run out of food and they’ll use the days off to celebrate Easter with family.
“We appreciate all the support and understand the backlash,” the post reads. “This last year has been incredibly difficult for us all.”
Corduroy Restaurant has announced its intention to reopen Tuesday, April 6 at 4:00 p.m.
View this post on Instagram
On her own Instagram page, owner, Rebecca Matthews, confirmed the visit from Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Police but added the police officers did not enter.
“The cops came. Pretty sure because they were called. We had a lot of people calling the restaurants saying ‘we’re going to call the cops on you,” she explains.
“But they never came in, and they never asked to speak to me they were just had a presence outside. Some of the patrons that were there went to talk to them and they [police] said ‘look we’re just here to keep the peace, this is not our issue, this is the provincial health officers call what to do here, we’re just here to be here.’”
Matthews says she’s working with legal aid and they are “taking it day by day.”
On Saturday, Matthews told NEWS 1130 dividers have been installed between tables and groups are being limited to six people.
But Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth told NEWS 1130 the restaurant is risking a range of repercussions, listing various agencies that have the authority to levy fines or otherwise intervene.
“This restaurant needs to, like every other restaurant in the province, follow the provincial health officer’s orders. It’s completely irresponsible not to be doing so,” he said.
“If they were inviting people to come on down, which is the allegation I’ve heard, they may well find themselves facing significant penalties – not just the tickets that can be issued under the provincial health officer’s orders or the Emergency Program Act – but certainly they could get themselves in trouble with the liquor licencing within the city and it will not surprise me if WorkSafe or the police investigate.”
According to Vancouver Coastal Health, a closure of Corduroy was “pending” as of Saturday due to “Contravention of a Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Order issued under Part 4 of the Public Health Act.”