Canadian Restaurant Owner Arrested for Defying COVID Restrictions, Breaking Into Eatery to Reopen Indoor Dining

A restaurant owner in Toronto, Canada was arrested this week for re-opening his establishment in defiance of the city's new coronavirus restrictions. Adam Skelly broke into his own restaurant and kicked the doors open from the inside, then invited customers to come in and eat with no precautions in place. According to a report by The Toronto Star, the 33-year-old has been charged with mischief, obstruction of police and other crimes.

Restaurants and bars throughout Ontario are subject to major restrictions through at least mid-December, but this week Skelly decided to take matters into his own hands when it comes to his restaurant, Adamson Barbecue. After re-opening on Monday, Skelly was shut down by police but invited customers to keep returning on social media. He tweeted that he would be open again on Tuesday, and implored customers to dine illegally, hoping to "show [Toronto Premier Doug Ford] who runs Ontario."

Some customers were reportedly served before the Toronto police arrived, and the public health department shut the restaurant down by the end of the day. Skelly reopened yet again on Wednesday, leading officials to change the locks on his restaurant. In response, Skelly tweeted that he was looking for a locksmith to help him reopen, but ultimately he decided to break into his own restaurant.

Toronto communications officer Brad Ross told reporters that Skelly was "permitted to enter a portion of the building, where there is no access to the restaurant, to obtain personal belongings." However, Skelly and his employees instead broke through a wall into the dining room, then tried to get customers inside. Police were forced to hold back the crowd that had gathered.

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Finally, Skelly was led away from his own restaurant in handcuffs. He is scheduled to appear at a bail hearing on Friday, with charges including trespassing, obstructing police and defying provincial COVID-19 restrictions, and more. Skelly's friends and supporters are crowd-funding money for his legal bills.

The restrictions come amid rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic throughout North America, including the U.S. and Canada, where the countries have closed the borders off from each other. The latest numbers from The Star state Ontario alone has 114,746 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,648 deaths. Indoor dining at restaurants is considered a particularly dangerous activity during the pandemic due to the way the virus is spread among people. For the latest information on the pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.