British Columbia

Vancouver mayor photographed breaking COVID-19 restaurant rule

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was photographed last week sitting at a West End restaurant patio table with seven other people, violating a public health order that allows no more than six people to sit together at a restaurant table. 

Mayor Kennedy Stewart was pictured sitting at a restaurant table with 7 other people

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart sits on a West End patio with seven other people, which is two more than the per table limit for B.C. restaurants under COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted to CBC News)

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was photographed last week sitting at a West End restaurant patio table with seven other people, violating a public health order that allows no more than six people to sit together at a restaurant table. 

The photo, taken July 15, shows Stewart sitting with others around what appears to be two tables pushed together on a restaurant patio. 

In a statement released by his office, Stewart said he and his wife were joined by two other couples from his immediate family for a meal outside. He said the group grew when more family members arrived. 

"For a short time, another couple from our family joined us, but when we realized we were over the six person per party limit, we dispersed," the statement said. 

'It's easy to make a mistake'

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlined the rules for restaurants during a news conference Wednesday.

"That means small numbers of people, six at a table, with either physical distancing or barriers between tables," she said. 

"And no, you can't put those tables together and no, you can't have a whole bunch of tables and everybody hopping and mixing between them."

There are growing concerns that people are not following rules aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday night, images appeared on social media of a crowd at Third Beach in Vancouver's Stanley Park, showing little evidence of physical distancing or masks.

As for the mayor's get-together, it's unclear how far apart people were seated in Stewart's group but he referred to the others as family members. 

"It's easy to make a mistake, especially when you are busy catching up with the people you love but haven't seen for some time," he said. 

"What's important though is when you do catch yourself like I did with my family, add some space and keep staying safe."

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