Health officials have temporarily closed two adjoining restaurants in Vancouver's West End over several alleged violations of provincial COVID-19 orders.
Closure orders have been posted outside the Babylon Café and at Babylon Restaurant and Bar, two busy Denman Street establishments that share an owner.
The orders show inspectors from Vancouver Coastal Health visited the restaurants a total of 11 times combined between June 4 and Sept. 4, and found several problems that weren't properly addressed.
At Babylon Restaurant, inspectors said they caught more than six guests – the maximum allowed to dine as a group anywhere in B.C. under provincial rules – seated together at one table.
Inspectors also found patrons failing to maintain a two-metre distance from each other at both establishments, and that high-touch surfaces at their service stations were "not frequently cleaned and sanitized."
Both restaurants also lacked signage reminding people to keep physically distanced, and failed to take measures "to prevent the congregation of patrons outside," according to the closure orders.
Vancouver Coastal Health has not indicated when the Babylon Café or Babylon Restaurant and Bar can reopen. Before doing so, the owners must meet with public health teams and present a plan to comply with provincial COVID-19 rules.
Reopening without addressing health officials' concerns could result in a fine of up to $25,000 and up to six months in jail.
The Vancouver Coastal Health website shows the Parlour Restaurant on Hamilton Street has also been closed for violating provincial orders related to COVID-19.
A spokesperson for the health authority said restaurants closures can be ordered as a result of COVID-19 exposure events, concerns that establishments aren't following provincial orders, or both.