Closure order lifted on Toronto restaurant Adamson Barbecue

Toronto’s medical officer of health has lifted a closure order on Adamson Barbecue after the restaurant defied COVID-19 laws and opened for indoor and outdoor dining three days in a row. The owner, Adam Skelly, was arrested and charged on Nov. 26.

Despite closure orders lifting, Adamson Barbecue cannot continue to operate immediately. The restaurant has been operating without a business licence.

The city’s director of municipal licensing and standards, Carlton Grant, sent Skelly a letter yesterday that stated Skelly must obtain a business licence before reopening the restaurant for delivery and takeout. Failing to obtain a licence for the Adamson Barbecue locations could result in a hefty $25,000 fine.

Reopening would also mean adhering to current pandemic laws of operation.

“The lifting of the requirements of the Section 22 order would permit the Adamson Etobicoke location to open for takeout, delivery, or drive through only as allowed for under the lockdown regulation. Should that location defy the restraining order and the lockdown regulation and open for indoor and/or outdoor dining, the owner, the business, and/or its employees and agents could face contempt of court findings, ” the news release stated.

Skelly sent a newsletter blast to customers following his arrest and stated that he had every intention of getting arrested when he defied city orders to shut down.

“I opened up so I could receive the charges under the Reopening Ontario Act and challenge them in the courts. Our lawyers agree that the government actions have impacted small businesses disproportionately, and violate our charter rights,” Skelly wrote.

Adamson Barbecue is still under a province-placed order “restraining them from contravening the lockdown regulation under the Reopening Ontario Act.”

Skelly has stated that his restaurants will not survive on takeout orders alone and has challenged the government to allow small businesses to continue to operate. Skelly was released on bail following his earlier arrest and will appear in court again on Jan. 4.