After stepping into the spotlight for defying COVID-19 protocols, Adam Skelly, owner of Adamson Barbecue, has decided to shut down all three restaurant locations.
Skelly told the Star he sees “no end in sight that doesn’t involve discriminating against a segment of society.”
“So I decided to close down all locations,” he said.
Skelly says he doesn’t want to comply with the province’s mandated vaccine certificate but is also unable to oppose it because of his bail conditions — hence the closure of his Etobicoke restaurant on Queen Elizabeth Blvd., the Leaside location on Wicksteed Ave. and the location in Aurora.
“I would protest them, but I am bound by bail conditions and a court order to obey the Reopening Ontario Act,” he said of the vaccine passport mandates.
Last year in November, when the province mandated stricter measures for businesses as COVID-19 cases continued to soar, Skelly’s Etobicoke location broke these rules by allowing patrons to dine inside after taking to social media to publicly announce his defiance.
“Our Etobicoke location … will be opening for in-restaurant dining against provincial orders,” Skelly said in an Instagram video posted Nov. 23 to the restaurant’s account.
At the time, only delivery, drive-thru and takeout were permitted at restaurants.
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Although police were on-site as Skelly welcomed a long line of customers into the restaurant, they didn’t stop them from entering. An order was issued later that day by Toronto Public Health to close the establishment.
Over the two days, Skelly was charged a total of nine times for bylaw violations including breaching a regulation forbidding indoor dining. Two of the charges were also laid for operating without a business licence.
In a Star exclusive, it was later revealed that Skelly’s original Adamson Barbecue location in Leaside operated without a business licence for more than four years.
In February, Skelly was billed $187,000 from the City of Toronto as it attempted “to recoup its costs to enforce provincial public health regulations” spent while shutting down the restaurant.
The majority of the invoice was attributed to the cost of staffing police but Skelly was also billed for public health and licensing staff, boarding up the premises and the price of a locksmith.
Court eventually restricted Skelly’s social media access but the ban was partially lifted in January.
With the controversial restaurant chain shutting down, equipment is now being auctioned off by Benaco Sales LTD — along with other contents from 16 other establishments.
Irelyne Lavery is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Reach her via email: [email protected]
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