B.C. seeks court injuction to close Fraser Valley restaurant defying vaccine passport order
Rolly’s restaurant in Hope, B.C., has been serving customers illegally since Oct. 7, when its business and liquor licences were suspended for refusing to check vaccine passports.
So far, the only punishment for remaining open has been a daily fine of $100 from the municipality. But that could change, now that Fraser Health has filed a notice of civil claim asking a B.C. Supreme Court judge to grant an injunction against the restaurant.
The province is asking the courts to order Rolly’s to close, and to authorize the RCMP to arrest and remove anyone who won’t leave the establishment.
“There has been a progressive approach to dealing with this restaurant and with others, and now we are at the injunction phase, and of course we are disappointed to be at this phase,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday.
But provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government can’t continue to allow Rolly’s to thumb its nose at the vaccine passport law.
“It shows people that they don’t respect their neighbours, they don’t respect their business neighbours, they don’t respect their community,” said Henry.
The president of the B.C Restaurant Association, Ian Tostenson, is behind province.
“Do I want to see them closed? For the reasons that’s it’s not fair they continue to violate the health order, I absolutely do want them closed. They have to be closed,” said Tostenson.
If the injunction is granted, an order from a Supreme Court judge would be lot a lot harder to defy than one from a municipal government.
“It would be much more difficult to ignore an order like this because it could come with some much more serious legal ramifications if a person was to ignore it or act in contravention of it,” said laywer Sarah Leamon.
Tostenson noted that actually enforcing such an injunction is "where it gets ugly."
“I don’t know how they close a business that doesn’t want to be closed,” he added. “But I think they have a right to tell people to get out and lock the doors.”
Leamon and Tostenson expect the issue to go before a judge relatively quickly.
“There are options available to try to expedite matters, particularly where there are concern about public safety and public health. So I expect that any opportunity to expedite this matter and even get an interim order are probably being taken by the government,” said Leamon.
She believes the province would win in court, and Tostenson says that can’t happen soon enough.
“I want us to be known as an industry that stood up and faced it, we did it right, and we helped B.C. get healed,” he said. “I don’t see that restaurant Rolly’s in Hope is even contributing to that, they are contributing to it going the other way, so I don’t like it.”