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Vancouver restaurant owner speaks out after license suspended over health order defiance

Last Updated Apr 7, 2021 at 6:18 am PDT

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver restaurant owner who is one of the two eateries that had their business licenses suspended by the city after operating in contradiction to public health orders says he’s deeply frustrated.

Since restrictions on dine-in service went into effect on March 30, it’s been a tough go for local restaurants.

And Federico Fuoco, the owner of Gusto, a Taste of Italy, says he feels governments “crushing” the people they serve.

“I didn’t do this to be disrespectful. I did this because people have to stand up and say ‘enough is enough of these measures where we get blindsided. Let’s work together,'” he says.

“The other thing is, why wasn’t this a blanket policy that covers places like malls, Walmart, Costco? How come those places don’t get affected by this order? … also, the inconsistency of why is your wine tasting allowed indoors, but you can’t have dining indoors?

“Then you get some of these outdoor patios that are completely enclosed. What’s the difference between that and indoor dining?”

Fuoco says his other business, Federico’s Supper Club, has already closed up permanently, while Gusto is still operating and has 30 full-time and part-time employees.

RELATED: Business licenses for two COVID rule-flouting Vancouver restaurants suspended

Since last Monday’s change to dining, some restaurants have continued to operate as takeout or patio only, while others opt to close their doors altogether.

Evan Moffatt is a manager at Brewhall — just a few blocks away from Gusto — and he acknowledges restaurants opting to defy public health orders may be feeling pressure or doing it to make a statement but says he believes businesses should follow public health orders.

“Despite the fact that our staff is making less money and I’m making less money, it feels like the right thing to do,” he tells CityNews.

Fuoco has said he is complying with the public health order and focuses on trying to get back to business.

Meanwhile, Corduroy in Kitsilano, which is the other restaurant to receive a license suspension over the weekend — has now lost its liquor license according to B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

The restaurant won’t even be able to sell takeout until April 19.

РWith files from Robyn Crawford and Liza Yuzda