Corduroy restaurant ordered to close for defying proof-of-vaccination rules

A restaurant in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood has once again been ordered to close for openly defying the province's COVID-19 rules.

The city suspended Corduroy's business licence on Wednesday, citing the establishment's ongoing refusal to follow masking rules or request proof-of-vaccination from patrons.

Owner Rebecca Matthews has been an outspoken critic of B.C.'s COVID-19 mitigation measures, calling the vaccine card system "illegal" and dismissing face-coverings as ineffective.

A recent post on the restaurant's Instagram page showed four men working in the kitchen, and none were wearing masks.

Matthews addressed the abrupt closure on social media Wednesday, indicating that she would be speaking with a lawyer.

"Obviously waiting for a bunch of calls and working on next steps, how to move forward. Legal counsel is a must at this point," she said.

But she also said Corduroy will comply with the closure, unlike Rolly's restaurant, a similarly defiant business in the Fraser Valley that's facing a possible court injunction for remaining open after losing its licence.

"I would love to do that," Matthews said, adding that doing so would "cloud the ultimate objective of them showing us the proof and validity of these claims against restaurants and gyms and this stuff."

Remaining open could also result in the business losing its licence for five years, according to the notice of business licence suspension served to the restaurant Wednesday.

Corduroy's licence was previously suspended back in April after it continued offering in-person dining in violation of a provincial order issued at the height of the third wave.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth addressed the escalating battle over vaccine passports in the province on Wednesday, noting that businesses that choose to ignore the rules will face consequences.

"Obviously we would expect the restaurant to abide by provincial health orders and check to ensure that people are vaccinated," Farnworth said. "These are provincial health orders, they are designed to keep people safe."

Rolly's was closed on Wednesday afternoon, with a sign on the door reading "Cannot open today – dealing with Fraser Health."

The district municipality of Hope had been fining the restaurant for every day it remained open, though the mayor said none of the fines have been paid so far. Farnworth said the restaurant owners won't be able to get their business licence or liquor licence re-instated while there are fines outstanding.

This week, the province applied for a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that would allow the RCMP to arrest and remove anyone who refuses to leave the restaurant.

The judge has already denied the government's request for an immediate injunction, as well as a request from Rolly's for a two-week adjournment. Instead, a ruling is expected Thursday afternoon on whether to grant an emergency interim injunction that could close the establishment while the application moves through the court.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Shannon Paterson