simmering kettle

Another Ontario restaurant loses liquor licence for opening during lockdown

The Simmering Kettle, a small restaurant nestled amongst stores in a strip mall in Barrie, Ontario, is the latest business to open its doors to customers in contravention of the full emergency shutdown that the province was moved into nearly two weeks ago.

Owner Shalu Persaud has been taking to social media in recent days to advertise that her establishment is staying open for maskless indoor dining, and seems to have amassed quite the following of lockdown opponents.

Some cited waiting lists to get a table at the Kettle over the weekend, during which diners shouted at and chased out Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) enforcement officers that were there to inspect the premises as Ontario's COVID numbers are spiking and the public is under a stay-at-home order.

"It's been a whole year that the world has to deal with COVID-19... a year that we have been following and complying with everything that the government has asked us to do. And it seems we're worse off now than we were a year ago," Persaud said in a video posted to the restaurant's Facebook page last week.

"Something's gotta give, something has to change. I can no longer afford to just do what they're asking me to do. It's not even about the money sometimes, it's about when the rules make sense."

The ACGO returned to the eatery multiple times, including on Tuesday, when it immediately suspended the establishment's liquor license. 

Persaud told officers that the commission has "no jurisdiction" over her, as she is causing no harm to any person or property and breaking no laws.

The rather polite interaction, in which ACGO representatives also stated that they are moving to revoke the Simmering Kettle's licence altogether, was captured on video and shared to the restaurant's Facebook page.

Persaud is following in the footsteps of the South Branch Bistro in Kemptville and Family Kitchen in Leamington, both of which have chosen to seat and serve customers despite the present lockdown — or rather, in direct resistance to it.

Though it seems that, like the other two restaurants, many are enthusiastically patronizing the Kettle, there are also those in vocal opposition who are demanding more enforcement action from local governments as every other non-essential business in the province remains shuttered.

Some are also criticizing the City of Barrie for including the establishment in its Barrielicious program, which this year encourages residents to support a list of local businesses through takeout and delivery.

Persaud has thanked fellow lockdown opponents for their support and gave advice on how other businesses can open "confidently" in defiance of current measures in additional Facebook Live videos on Monday and Tuesday evening.

She added in the latter footage that people are not coming to her restaurant to have alcohol, so the move by the ACGO has little impact on her plans to stay open.

"It's not about alcohol, it's not even about the food... this is about community. This is about us all being there for each other, this is about people's mental health," she said.

Lead photo by

Purav Taylor/Google

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