Toronto’s medical officer of health sent in an order to shut down Adamson Barbecue on Tuesday after the restaurant’s owner defied provincial lockdown measures and hosted patrons for indoor dining.
Adam Skelly says he reopened one of his locations in an effort to fight back against ‘lockdown’ restrictions for Toronto and Peel Region.
In a three-minute video posted to the Adamson Barbecue Instagram page on Monday evening, Skelly stated his intention to open the Etobicoke location at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for full dine-in services.
Toronto Public Health said the restaurant was ordered closed by Eileen de Villa under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
“Despite Ontario regulations requiring all restaurants to be closed, except for takeout, delivery and drive-through, this establishment opened its doors to patrons for dine-in eating in contravention of the law that is designed to protect people from the spread of COVID-19,” TPH said in a statement.
“An investigation was immediately launched when the restaurant was found to be operating in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act, providing both indoor and outdoor dine-in service, with many patrons not wearing masks and not practising physical distancing.”
“Investigations require the gathering of all the facts before enforcement action can be taken. The City has now taken enforcement action, and the restaurant is closed,” TPH adds.
TPH says Adamson Barbecue is also under investigation for compliance with business licensing, zoning, public health, Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code requirements.
Toronto police said Skelly was cooperative once the shutdown order was enforced.
“At the end of all things, the order is crystal clear: Toronto Public Health has closed this premise,” staff superintendent Mark Barkley said.
“It shall remain closed and the owner has been provided the most detailed understanding of what his obligations are. If there is a continued breach of that, then the Toronto police service will work with Toronto Public Health and will ensure forced compliance of that order.”
#BREAKING The City of Toronto has now shut down Adamson BBQ, in Etobicoke, after its owner opened the doors to dine-in customers today in a public defiance of the lockdown order. Police would not move in earlier with the large crowd and demonstrators around. @680NEWS pic.twitter.com/XTHUGLUITs
— Mark Douglas (@Douglas680NEWS) November 24, 2020
Earlier on Tuesday, Toronto police inspector, Tim Crone, said charges, if any, will be delivered this week.
Ontario’s premier was asked about Adamson Barbecue on Tuesday, saying he sympathizes with small business owners forced into lockdown but that people need to follow the rules and safety protocols.
“I just want the guy to shut down. I am not going to get up here and start pounding on a small business owner when the guy is holding on by his finger nails,” Doug Ford said.
“I differentiate between someone at home being reckless and having 100 people over and partying, or renting a public storage place. I don’t condone it. I don’t condone that he opened up, but I feel terrible. It’s not fair.”
Toronto and Peel Region entered the ‘lockdown’ stage of the province’s COVID-19 response framework on Monday.
The new restrictions mean all indoor and outdoor dine-in services at restaurants and bars is prohibited. Establishments can still offer take out or delivery services.
In the video posted on Monday night Skelly questioned the governments intentions as well as the accuracy of Ontario’s COVID-19 case count.
“Top to bottom this thing stinks, it reeks of corruption,” he says in the video.
Skelly feels that small businesses and restaurants are being unfairly targeted by the provincial governments new lockdown restrictions.
View this post on Instagram
Comments on the post are mixed, some criticizing the move of going against restrictions while others voicing their support. In the video Skelly says messages from those who back his stance gave him motivation to go forward with the plan of opening.
“This is a risky move and you guys gave me the gas to do it,” he said.
Adamson Barbecue operates three locations in the GTA, two in Toronto, though the Instagram post only mentioned intentions to open the Etobicoke location on Tuesday.
The Etobicoke location is located in the Gardiner and Royal York Road area and according to the Adamson Barbecue website is normally only open Thursday to Sunday during lunch hours.