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Toronto brunch favourite fined $1,000 for inadequate COVID safety plan

Cafe Landwer in Toronto was just fined $1,000 by the City for not having a COVID safety plan, but the brunch restaurant says the protocol they were supposed to be enforcing wasn't totally clear.

The Vaughan location of the restaurant near Bathurst and Rutherford has experienced an outbreak of five confirmed positive and two probable cases of COVID.

All affected staff live in York and three of whom are from the same family.

"We had a COVID safety protocol but not the 'plan' indicated in the bylaws, which was not covered in the compliance inspections," majority owner of Cafe Landwer's Canadian operations, Eran Shram, tells blogTO.

Health officials are informing the public of the outbreak after the restaurant failed to maintain proper contact-tracing records, letting anyone who visited between Mar. 19 and 24 know that they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

"We have had numerous unannounced Public Health inspections at all our restaurants and passed every single one," Shram says. "From PPE, sanitization, social distancing measures and food safety we never once had one of our COVID safety protocols in question."

"At the time of these inspections we were collecting one contact per table for contact-tracing purposes. The issue of needing to store the contact of every single guest was never flagged or brought to our attention in any of those inspections."

Landwer management only found out after the fact that they needed to record every single person's contact information, an issue that has caused confusion at Toronto restaurants before. According to Shram, when asked why health officials didn't inform them of this measure at previous surprise inspections, they were told it was up to them to find out.

The onus is on restaurants to stay up to date to changes to lockdown rules and interpret those rules correctly, though Shram says if any deficiencies were noted at previous inspections they would have been able to correct them immediately.

"There is a saying that reputation is like fine China," Shram says. "It is expensive to acquire and easily broken. We are determined to acquire it again." 

Cafe Landwer says they plan to start enforcing the now-clarified rules at all four locations.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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