B.C. restaurant ordered to close for not checking vaccination status of customers

A restaurant in B.C. has been forced to close its doors for defying a key pandemic health order, but it appeared to be business as usual Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, Rolly’s in Hope was given a closure order. But the next day, the doors were open with dozens of people who oppose pandemic safety measures there in support during the lunch hour.

The restaurant was ordered to shut down because its owners have chosen not to check people’s vaccine certificates since that rule came into effect last month.

“It’s ridiculous, what they're asking us to do,” said Muriel Young, co-owner of the restaurant.

Young said they have followed all other health orders, but will refuse to check their customer’s vaccination certificates -- even though experts say the measure will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s not legal for me to ask you for your private health,” she said, even though the measure is legal, according to the province.

Marlene Abling, another owner, said she doesn’t trust the government, and indicated she doesn't believe medical experts.

“This isn't about health anyway, it's about control,” Abling said.

The mother-daughter team repeated conspiracy theories, which some of their supporters echoed.

The mayor of Hope said the topic of vaccines has been a divisive issue for the community, and the decision to rescind the licences was not taken lightly, but necessary for public health.

“It was very difficult. It’s a small community and we all know each other; our neighbours are working there and I’ve known the owners for a long time,” said Mayor Peter Robb. “They're taking a stance. I don't agree with the stance they're taking, but hopefully we can get through this.”

He said he isn’t aware of any other businesses defying the public health orders.

He said the owners can receive their licences back as early as the next council meeting as long as they can explain how they plan to follow the health orders, including checking vaccine certificates.

Until then, the owners are being fined $100 per day for staying open.

Fraser Health said it is working with compliance and enforcement partners to determine the next steps and would not comment on whether that includes a court injunction.