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The province has issued a health hazard order to Chaise Corydon, threatening to shut down the restaurant’s in-person dining if it doesn’t follow physical distancing rules.
The order comes after pictures of Chaise Corydon’s patio circulated on Facebook over August long weekend. In the photos, groups are seen standing shoulder to shoulder and seemingly not abiding by the province’s pandemic-related public health orders.
Shea Ritchie, the owner of Chaise Corydon, said he received the order around 5 p.m. on Friday. It went into effect the same day.
The document states that a health hazard exists or might exist at Chaise Corydon.
"An order is necessary to prevent, eliminate, remedy, reduce or otherwise deal with it," the order says.
Ritchie will have to close his restaurant’s doors unless he follows the steps outlined in the document. They include ensuring that all customers are seated at a table; that when customers briefly get up from their seats, they can maintain a two metre separation from other members of the public; and that staff serve food and drinks to customers at their tables — there’s no standing service allowed.
Ritchie has a week to appeal the order.
"I absolutely will be appealing," he said.
Ensuring that customers remain seated at their tables, and having no standing service, are not explicitly stated in the province’s latest iteration of pandemic-related health rules for restaurants.
Ritchie has been issued two $2,542 tickets for not following social distancing regulations; one came in June, and the other in July. He said the rules for restaurants have been unclear. He previously told media he didn’t think it was up to his staff to prevent groups from intermingling in his restaurant.
"If this (order) is about public safety, then I think that every business should be under the same rules," Ritchie said. "This should be something that’s universal."
He said he knows of other facilities where people stand and mingle and don’t physically distance.
"(It) makes me question whether or not this (order) is retaliation for going to the media and exposing some of the issues," Ritchie said.
Chaise Corydon will follow the health hazard order’s rules, Ritchie said.
"I don’t have a problem with the government implementing special measures right now, and during this type of situation, I think that it’s definitely warranted," he said, adding that his restaurant shut in-person operations when the province said to do so, and that they haven’t gone over capacity.
"We have made mistakes along the way, and we’ve all been learning, but so are the inspectors and so are the other agencies that have been involved, so I think that it kind of goes both ways," he said.
Hedie Epp lodged a complaint with the city in July after finding Chaise Corydon’s patio and surrounding sidewalk packed, she said. She sent a complaint to the city’s permits department later on.
"When I lodged my complaint with 311, as soon as I said the name of the restaurant, he said ‘Oh yeah, we’ve had a few other complaints already,’ so I wasn’t the only one," Epp said.
She walked by Chaise Corydon Saturday night and found a different scene at the restaurant, she said.
"There were a few empty tables, there was nobody on the sidewalk. It looked really, very quiet."
Under the province’s latest public health regulations, restaurants must arrange their tables and seating so there’s at least a two-metre separation between groups. People who are ordering or picking up food must also be able to maintain a separation of at least two metres. Food can’t be served buffet style, and hookahs and other water pipes aren’t allowed.
Community journalist — The Headliner
Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:51 AM CDT: Adds clarification regarding pandemic-related health rules for restaurants
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