As noted in this morning’s Intelligence Briefs and reported by Global News, Vancouver restaurant Cold Tea was busted for serving a 100-person private party on New Years Eve. Owners Paul Rivas and Ron Cheng have since claimed the number of attendees was actually less than 50, but I don’t really see how that matters…
“Police say they attended the Cold Tea Restaurant, a Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant at the intersection of Granville and Davie, around 11 p.m. Dec. 31, after a complaint from the public. Police said they found a private party with scores of attendees and food and liquor service in progress. Officers shut the event down and issued the owner/organizer with a $2,300 fine.”
With so many restaurants enduring so much suffering by following the rules laid down by BC’s health authorities, it’s a painful thing to see one flout the rules so recklessly and selfishly. BCRFA President Ian Tostenson said “the event was particularly insulting, when other restaurants in the city lost thousands of dollars scrapping later-evening New Year’s Eve seatings following a last-minute health order barring liquor service after 8pm.”
Cold Tea’s standing within the hospitality industry will have taken a big hit for sure, but many are wondering out loud if that reputational punishment – plus the $2,300 fine – is anywhere near enough. Tostenson, for example, suggested a ‘six-figure’ penalty would be more appropriate. For me personally, kicking an already struggling restaurant when it’s down feels entirely wrong, but so does the pittance of the fine — so I’m stuck on a fence. What do you think?