Windsor mayor breaks COVID restrictions at restaurant, just hours after urging zero tolerance
Drew Dilkens says the dinner was 'an unfortunate error'
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens broke COVID-19 regulations Wednesday last week when he dined at the Nico Taverna restaurant with seven other people at the table.
Just hours earlier, Dilkens was among mayors from the region who called for a "zero tolerance approach" when it comes to enforcement of COVID-19 regulations.
At the time, Windsor-Essex was under yellow "protect" status on Ontario's COVID-19 response framework — and the maximum number of people allowed to be at a table together was six.
CBC News was made aware of the incident after it was sent a photo of the dinner group that was posted to Instagram.
After inquiries from CBC News, Dilkens made a statement to city council Monday afternoon. He called the incident an "unfortunate error on my part" that "should not have occurred."
"As mayor, there is responsibility for me to lead by example and showcase to all in our region that we need to follow all restrictions and guidelines to the letter," he said.
Though Dilkens has not received a ticket or a notice of bylaw infraction, he said he will make a donation of equivalent value to Windsor Goodfellows. The amount is $750.
Two others at the dinner will also make donations, said the mayor in his statement.
Gordon Orr, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, will be donating to Maryvale Adolescent and Family Services. Tish Harcus, a brand ambassador for Canadian Club Whisky, will make a donation to Hiatus House Windsor.
Nick Politi, the owner of the restaurant, says he takes the blame for the incident. Politi says that at the time the reservation was made, in the first week of October, having 10 at a table was allowed.
"We kind of just let them do it. I don't really have a good explanation," he said in an interview. "Things like that, with a few extra people at a table, we've been a little bit [relaxed] on I'll confess."
Politi said the province's new colour-coded response framework has been difficult at times for restaurants to follow.
He has been contacting people who've made reservations to let them know that the number of people who may be seated at a table has changed.
Windsor as of Monday is in the province's orange 'restrict' level, and the maximum number allowed to be at the same table at a restaurant is now at four.
- This article has been amended to correct the source of the photograph.Nov 23, 2020 7:52 PM ET