BARRIE, ONTARIO – After over a year of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are obviously starting to feel the wear and tear of having to go without the little things that make up normal, everyday life. And nowhere was this more evident than in a restaurant in Canada recently, when ownership and patrons clashed with local officials over mask regulations.
Canada is currently undergoing a new surge in COVID-19 cases, with over 6,500 cases a day being reported on average. Due to this development, new lockdown measures have been put into place, including business closures and mask mandates.
In Barrie, Ontario, which is north of Toronto, Shalu Persaud, owner of The Simmering Kettle restaurant, had defied closure orders and was fined $1,000 after a warning was issued last week. Persaud has vowed to remain open, citing strong public support.
“There’s no backing down now,” she said. “You should see the community support. My heart is so full.”
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When interviewed by local media, Persaud stated that The Simmering Kettle is taking the safety of staff and customers seriously by cleaning and sanitizing all of their tables. However, on April 10, a video was posted on Twitter that has now gone viral that depicts two individuals – a man and a woman, presumably representatives of local government, although they are not identified as such in the video – inside The Simmering Kettle and reprimanding staff over the lack of mask-wearing in the restaurant. During the course of the video, none of the customers or staff can be seen wearing masks.
At one point the man could be heard pointing out the fact that the restaurant has a liquor license and could possibly have been threatening to revoke it, although that cannot be confirmed. The man and woman are then confronted by a patron, who insists that they are trespassing and should leave before they call the police. At that point, multiple customers and staff can be heard yelling and screaming at the two individuals to leave, shouting “GET OUT!!” over and over.
The man and woman continue to attempt to talk to staff, but are repeatedly drowned out by the non-stop yelling and are eventually herded out the front door of the restaurant; one customer joyfully shouts “FREEDOM!” as they leave. Persaud has previously said that she intends to remain open despite the lockdown, and will fight any fines that she receives.