British Columbia

Vancouver suspends downtown Tim Hortons licence for violating B.C.'s COVID-19 order

The City of Vancouver has suspended the business licence of a Tim Hortons location for failing to enforce physical distancing between its customers.

Location at Pender and Abbott streets has been forced to shut for 3 days

People try to enter the closed Tim Hortons on Pender Street in Vancouver on Friday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The City of Vancouver has suspended the business licence of a Tim Hortons location for failing to enforce physical distancing between its customers.

A notice posted on the Pender and Abbott streets location says an inspector observed more than 10 patrons "who were lined up approximately one foot apart."

The inspector, the notice says, then warned staff they were not following proper procedures.

Five days after the first visit, an inspector again observed the same thing.

"I have concluded that your business ... is harmful to the health and safety of the community and guilty of gross misconduct," the notice reads.

The location has been forced to shut down for three days. It can reopen on March 30.

Tim Hortons said in a statement that the restaurant  exceeded local guidelines because it had 11 people inside instead of 10.

"This is an unfortunate isolated incident in a very challenging neighbourhood," it said. "The restaurant owner works diligently to serve the guests who frequent her store who often have challenging social needs."

The company says management has worked with the bylaw officer to meet local standards and will ensure the ten person limit is followed in the future, adding that they will request the assistance of police if needed to enforce the rule. 

Property-use inspectors have visited almost 7,000 restaurants and personal care facilities to ensure compliance with the public health orders, according to the city. As well, staff have visited more than 1,000 personal care facilities like spas and salons.

This licence suspension notice was on the business's door on Friday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

To curb the spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently banned all dine-in services at restaurants, allowing only takeout or delivery. As well, staff and customers must practise physical distancing.

Henry also ordered the closure of personal care facilities.

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