Barrie, Ont. restaurant owner defies provincial rules, has liquor licence suspended
BARRIE, ONT. -- A controversial decision to remain open for indoor dining despite provincial COVID-19 orders has landed the owner of a Barrie, Ont. eatery with a liquor license suspension by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Shalu Persaud, the Simmering Kettle owner, had previously been fined $1,000 for keeping things business as usual. Persaud told CTV News last week she had to choose between staying open or closing for good.
Persaud posts to the restaurant's Facebook page often, and on Tuesday in a live video, she was met by an AGCO agent notifying her of the suspension.
"I don't know what the world is coming to, but this is what we got to do," she said to the agent while refusing to accept the forms.
The interim suspension takes effect immediately and states it is "for reasons of public interest and safety."
In a release, AGCO says that when compliance officials (COs) went to the establishment over the weekend, "staff and patrons were not masked. Before they identified themselves, COs were offered a table for dine-in."
It adds that the "situation escalated very quickly."
"Patrons gathered and demanded that the COs leave the premises because they were trespassing," the release adds, noting that some of the customers chanted 'get out.'
The agency has the right to suspend or even revoke a licence held by an establishment if the location isn't found to operate safely.
"So, that's that," Persaud said after the AGCO agent left. "They are so sweet, as you can see. I don't know. God help us all."
Any decision by the AGCO can be appealed.