Rolly’s Restaurant should not be allowed to open until they comply with the provincial health orders to ask diners for vaccine passports, a lawyer for the provincial government argued Wednesday.
The Hope restaurant has been operating without its licence since it was issued a closure order on Oct. 7.
Owner Marlene Abeling told the BC Supreme Court Wednesday that she and the other owners believe their licence was taken away illegally.
“What they are asking us to do is legally against the Charter of Rights,” she said during a hearing for an injunction to close the restaurant. The injunction was applied for by Fraser Health, who say staff and owners have been “flagrantly” acting in disregard to Fraser Health and the provincial health officer.
Fraser Health co-counsel James Goulden said that Abeling’s beliefs are “an argument for another day,” and wanted to focus more on the immediate danger of COVID-19 transmission at a restaurant not following health orders.
“It’s important to recognize the two different orders,” he said.
Abeling had initially asked for extra time to prepare for court, including time to seek council. But the judge turned down her request for an adjournment.
Goulden added that the quick action was necessary because even during the hearing, Abeling had admitted they had been operating without a licence.
“I’ve had no time at all to even read the paperwork and I certainly have not had time to retain a lawyer,” Abeling said.
But Goulden said the type of injunction they were seeking didn’t even require Fraser Health to give the business notice, as they have already broken an order.
Goulden also noted that the media coverage and a rally at the restaurant on Saturday that drew a large group of supporters are both reasons they need to act swiftly to ensure they stop operating.
Abeling owns the business along with her mother and brother, Muriel Young and Steven Young. Nelson Insurance and Marstev Management are also named as defendants and owners.
It is possible that if anyone tries to open the restaurant after the injunction is approved, that they could be removed by RCMP, and potentially arrested.
Abeling was the only person to attend the hearing, which was held by phone.
On Wednesday, a hand-written sign on Rolly’s door read: “Sorry we can’t open today, dealing with Fraser Health.”
Court adjourned just after 4 p.m., and will reconvene at 2 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 21) where the judge will rule and give his reasons.
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