Police arrive to break up maskless indoor dining at Adamson BBQ in Toronto
If you've never heard of Toronto restaurant Adamson Barbecue before, you definitely have now, seeing as the brand opened the doors to its Etobicoke location for indoor dining on Tuesday in blatant defiance of provincial lockdown orders and is, as a result, trending on Twitter right now.
This is the scene in the parking lot right now pic.twitter.com/zPluZ00i2o— Jennifer Pagliaro (@jpags) November 24, 2020
Just one day after Toronto and Peel regions entered the Grey zone of Ontario's new reopening framework and thus shuttered things such as non-essential retail stores and patios — the last on-site dining option restaurants and bars had left after dining rooms were closed on Oct. 10 — Adamson proprietor Adam Skelly decided to fight back against what he says is an unfair "singling out" of the hospitality industry.
"The data from Toronto Public Health that came out two weeks ago shows that two of the over 10,000 Ontario COVID deaths were linked to bars, restaurants and retail. So why are we getting we getting singled out? And the big multinational corporations are all essential while they're packed?" Skelly said in a video posted to the Adamson Instagram account on Monday evening.
And though most are condemning Skelly's brash decision to open not only outdoor dining but indoor as well today, he does have some avid supporters on site at the QEW and Royal York Road who are enthusiastically lining up and crowding inside to chow down on some ribs sans face coverings.
The event has unsurprisingly attracted a number of vocal anti-maskers that include, according to Toronto Sun reporter Joe Warmington, people wearing Guy Fawkes masks and waving anti-mask banners.
The Sun quite predictably seems to be the only outlet that Skelly has been happy to chat with after he apparently insisted that all media vacate the area shortly after opening up shop at 11 a.m.
Reporters on site claimed he "screamed" at them to get off his property and stop interviewing customers waiting in line. Meanwhile, he lauded the Sun for what he considers "unbiased" reportage over the course of the pandemic.
Despite the fact that the illegal opening was publicized well before it took place, it wasn't until around 11:30 a.m. that Toronto police arrived on scene, and they have since entered the restaurant and engaged with Skelly, who appeared "agitated," according to reports on Twitter.
The only official media that seems able to document what's taking place inside is Warmington, who continues to share photo and video footage of the scene.
Fellow reporters state that, as of shortly after noon, it appears that public health and bylaw officers have left the premises, but additional law enforcement officers have arrived and are ticketing cars that are illegally parked on the street.
Mayor John Tory will also be investigating a 311 employee who was seen fist bumping attendees from inside an official City vehicle.
$500k fine for mr. smelly (autocorrect but imma leave it) according to https://t.co/6hzXB533iH— Chantecler (@ChanteclerTO) November 24, 2020
Given that Skelly is flouting a number of restrictions right now — operating beyond just offering delivery and takeout, not enforcing the provinvial mask bylaw or social distancing measures, etc.— he could potentially face hundreds of thousands in penalties.
But, according to his own accounts to journalists, he has not actually been fined anything today, and officers have since corroborated in stating that he won't be charged, if at all, until later in the week.
Mayor @JohnTory speaking to reporters says he doesn't direct enforcement but in his opinion the time for warnings is over and business owners and customers found in violation of anti-virus rules should be ticketed.— David Rider (@dmrider) November 24, 2020
Though Skelly's frustration is understandable and is shared by all of those whose businesses have been financially crippled by pandemic measures, his unsafe and method of trying to alert people to the plight of the industry right now was not the most effective or well-received.
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