City shuts down Adamson BBQ in Etobicoke after it flouted lockdown rules

By Michael Talbot and Michael Ranger

After a full day of flouting COVID-19 lockdown rules by serving diners indoors, the City of Toronto says it has now closed Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke.

In a release, the City said bylaw officers, public health inspectors and police attended the restaurant at 7 Queen Elizabeth Blvd., earlier Tuesday to conduct an investigation after learning it had advertised that it would open to diners.

“Investigations require the gathering of all the facts before enforcement action can be taken,” the City said in a release. “The City has now taken enforcement action, and the restaurant is closed.”

Police and city officials arrived at the restaurant on Tuesday morning after owner Adam Skelly posted a message to his business’ Instagram page on Monday night saying he would open the Etobicoke location at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for full dine-in services.

He followed through, opening the doors to dozens of customers, many without masks.

At the time, police said they couldn’t shut the restaurant down, fearing for public safety.

“By the sheer number of people that are here right now, we don’t have the ability to go and physically remove everyone at this point and it would be unsafe to do so,” Toronto police Insp. Tim Crone said.

“We understand the level of frustration (about another lockdown), however, the overriding consideration always has to be public safety.”

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 are prohibited. Establishments can still offer take out or delivery services.

Pemier Doug Ford was asked about the restaurant’s defiance on Tuesday.

“They have to follow the rules,” he said. “There can’t be rules for one group and not the other … If we let everyone open we’re going to be in worse shape.”

He then added: “I can’t get angry at any businessperson right now, they’re hurting.”

Meanwhile, tempers began to flare out front of the restaurant between people on seemingly opposite sides of the mask debate.

In his Instagram post, Skelly questioned the government’s intentions as well as the accuracy of Ontario’s COVID-19 case count.

“Top to bottom this thing stinks, it reeks of corruption.”
– Adam Skelly, Adamson BBQ

Skelly feels that small businesses and restaurants are being unfairly targeted by the provincial government’s new lockdown restrictions.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adamson Barbecue (@adamsonbarbecue)

Comments on Skelly’s anti-lockdown post were mixed, with some criticizing the move of going against restrictions while others voicing their support. In the video Skelly said 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.”
– Adam Skelly, Adamson BBQ

An increased number of officers have been deployed in recent weeks to crack down on businesses found not to be compliant with pandemic regulations.

If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the act.

Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000.

Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year.

The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.

RELATED: Hudson’s Bay will keep Queen Street location closed during lockdown

Adamson Barbecue operates three locations in the GTA, two in Toronto, though the Instagram post only mentioned the intention 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.

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