Toronto restaurant owner arrested after allegedly continuing to violate public health orders

Adam Skelly, who owns Adamson Barbecue, is being charged with one count each of attempting to obstruct police, mischief, failing to comply with a continuing order and failing to leave when directed.

The restaurant was seized by the Toronto Police Service early this morning, the locks were changed and all persons were restricted from access to the premises, said Toronto Police Superintendent Dom Sinopoli in a press conference late Thursday afternoon.

Toronto began a four-week lockdown this week amid an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases and as ICUs near capacity. All dining, non-essential shopping, salons and gyms have been ordered closed. And on Thursday, Toronto’s mayor told CNN he wasn’t ruling out an extension of the lockdown to last through Christmas and New Year’s.

Sinopoli said “there was some leeway given to the owner (Skelly) to access the rear compartment of that building.” Upon entering the back of the building, Skelly broke through the drywall, entered the restaurant and damaged the locks that were put in place by the city, Sinopoli said.

CNN partner CBC previously reported Skelly was charged with nine charges on Wednesday, including violating indoor dining rules, holding an illegal gathering and operating a business without a license.

Sinopoli also spoke about the large gathering of protesters with “different views” around the restaurant that was very vocal and “at times, very anti-police.” One other male was arrested at the protest and charged with one count of obstructing police, six counts of assaulting a police officer, which include spitting at the officer, two counts of uttering a death threat and one count of failing to comply with a continuing order, said Sinopoli.

Both Skelly and this male will be in court for a bail hearing from the 23rd Division on Friday, said Sinopoli.

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Skelly has been served with a trespass letter and another letter will be posted on the restaurant barring anyone from accessing the building and adjacent parking lot, said Sinopoli. Toronto Public Health has taken occupancy of the entire premises, said Sinopoli.

City of Toronto Mayor John Tory said he believes Skelly is making a political statement.

“He had a lot of the anti-mask people there,” Tory told CNN’s Erica Hill Thursday morning on “New Day”.

“It was like it was a festival they were having to try and celebrate some of their unorthodox views.”

“But I think the vast majority of people don’t accept that. They’re trying hard to make the sacrifices that are terrible in some cases to make sure we can all get healthy,” said Tory, adding that he believes Skelly will “face huge fines” if convicted.

CNN has not been able to identify an attorney who represents Skelly.

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