Restaurant still closed after COVID-related suspension despite vow to reopen from Vancouver owner

Patrons are seen inside Corduroy Lounge, a restaurant in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, despite a provincial health order barring indoor dining.

The owner of a Vancouver restaurant that had its business licence suspended over non-compliance with COVID-19 restrictions says she will remain closed until further notice, despite previously vowing to reopen her doors.

On Saturday, Corduroy Restaurant in Kitsilano was filled with customers and maskless servers in spite of public health orders prohibiting indoor dining until April 19.

By Sunday, public health officers had ordered it closed, and on Monday, the City of Vancouver suspended the restaurant's business licence and said if it opens prior to April 20, the city could permanently revoke the licence. 

"The harassment and bullying public health officials experienced during the execution of their duties is completely unacceptable," Mayor Kennedy Stewart said in a statement Monday.

"The City of Vancouver has taken swift and strong measures to close these restaurants and will pursue any future violations to the full extent of the law against these and any other non-compliant businesses."

Owner Rebecca Matthews had previously vowed she would reopen on Tuesday after being closed on Sunday and Monday.

In a series of Instagram videos posted Monday night, Matthews said her team was "figuring things out."

"The whole reason we did this was, no, not to make a couple extra bucks or because we think we're better than nobody else … it's because things need to change," she said.

Several hours later, another post on the restaurant's account said it would remain closed until further notice.

"Something has been brought to my attention that I need to put all my focus on," the post says. "Will update here as we move forward."

Under the latest public health restrictions, restaurants, coffee shops and breweries are still allowed to serve patrons on patios and sell takeout, but indoor dining is suspended until April 19. Many in the industry have been supportive of the measures, despite the expected financial toll.

Vancouver police officers were called to Coduroy on Saturday night, but did not issue any tickets. On Tuesday, Const. Tania Visintin explained that the patrons were already "extremely hostile and verbally aggressive" when they arrived, and that officers felt fines would only further incite the crowd.

"The crowd was chanting at officers and it appeared to be more of a protest setting," Visintin wrote in an email statement. "That being said, we are not turning a blind eye to this matter"

Police said they are working with Vancouver Coastal Health on how to best address any ongoing issues.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel and Ben Miljure