Published Tuesday, November 24, 2020 9:26AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020 5:05AM EST
Uniformed police officers showed up at the Queen Elizabeth Blvd. location of Adamson Barbecue late on Tuesday afternoon to deliver the order to owner Adam Skelly after he made the decision to open his dining room to customers earlier in the day.
“The order was crystal clear. Toronto Public Health has closed this premise, it shall remain closed and the owner has been provided a detailed understanding of what his obligations are,” Staff Superintendent Mark Barkley told reporters at the scene. “If he opens tomorrow we will be here. We will have a presence and we will ensure compliance with the order.”
Skelly, however, took to Instagram later in the day to announce his plans to reopen despite the provincial restrictions.
”Why we are getting singled out and the big, multinational corporations are all essential,” he said. “Come on guys. Enough is enough. We're opening.”
On Tuesday, customers lined up outside the Etobicoke restaurant and patrons could be seen dining inside the restaurant shortly after it opened at 11 a.m.
Mayor John Tory told reporters Tuesday that he did not yet have the circumstances of the Adamson incident before him, but said the move to defy the lockdown was a “political statement,” and the owner should “perhaps know better."
“This is a duly passed regulation put in place by the Government of Ontario to help address a very acute health pandemic, COVID-19, and there has to be respect shown to those laws and regulations by everybody,” he said. “It’s all hands on deck here in terms of people showing respect for those rules, whether or not they agree with them.”
Dozens of supporters gathered outside the business on Tuesday afternoon and a worker in a City of Toronto truck was also spotted honking and giving the thumbs up to people outside the restaurant.
Police arrived on scene shortly after the restaurant opened and Toronto police Insp. Tim Crone said bylaw and public health officials also attended and documented that it was open against public health orders.
He said that while enforcement action was likely to be taken later in the week, police would not be physically hauling away anyone gathered inside or outside the restaurant.
Police, however, returned to the establishment late Tuesday afternoon after Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa used her powers under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotions Act to issue an order requiring its closure.
By that point the restaurant was in the process of closing up and most customers had left.
“Unfortunately earlier today we had a misunderstanding of what we should do and how we should do it. That direction was not the appropriate direction that should have been given,” Barkley told reporters. “Tomorrow morning we will be prepared to undertake those enforcement actions and we will also be prepared to deal with people who refuse to leave the premises.”