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Adamson Barbecue A Media And Police Hotspot Now
Is Adam Skelly More Than Just An Audacious Restaurateur?
Etobicoke, Ontario restaurant Adamson Barbecue has been in the news a fair bit over the last few days due to owner Adam Skelly's determination to keep his doors open in spite of government orders to do otherwise.
Under the lockdown rules currently gripping Toronto and Peel, restaurants are closed to dine-in service but people can order take out. As such, Adamson Barbecue is supposed to be closed to dine-in service, but Skelly refuses, proclaiming the situation as "tyrannical" and insisting that Ford needs to be shown "who runs Ontario" in a series of tweets. His restaurant was full when he'd opened his doors both November 24 and 25. As of this writing on November 26, police and locksmiths were on hand at Adamson Barbecue, as the locks on the buildings had been changed to prevent Skelly from reopening for a third straight day.
Skelly, who is facing nine different (non-Criminal Code) related charges as a result of his determination to stay open, could be facing a $100,000 fine for having disobeyed the provincial order. A GoFundMe has been started so that he can offset his legal fees.
“Amidst the slough of politicians, media and citizen fear mongers supporting irrational COVID public health orders that shut down small businesses while allowing corporate box stores to remain open, one small business is standing up for the rights of the little guys like you and me … Ontario’s Adamson BBQ has been opening every day to serve people lunch and he’s paying a high price for carrying that cudgel of liberty,” the GoFundMe campaign started by Barry McNamar says.
However, is this just about flouting provincial rules surrounding COVID-19, which is in its second wave, or is there more to it than that?
Huge disclaimer: I've never heard of Adamson Barbecue prior to this week. I live about an hour from the establishment, and to be fair, I don't think I've even been to Etobicoke since my return to Ontario in 2007. I don't know Adam Skelly, and I am not in a position to discuss his financial affairs.
However, I know that the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing closures - partial or otherwise - have been exceedingly difficult for businesses in general. I know there have been several businesses that have been forced to close as a result of the pandemic and the ensuing toll it's taken on businesses, and I'm sure that smaller restaurants are no exceptions to this.
With all his bravado on Twitter which more or less says he has no intention of following the government or public health orders, I'm fairly certain that Skelly's bottom financial line is not looking too rosy at this point. Every business is struggling currently, so it makes sense that his restaurant would certainly not be helped by the current orders to only offer take-out. In addition, Skelly is facing significant fines and legal fees as a result of the charges against him. The money has got to come from somewhere to pay for all that.
However, the GoFundMe established to assist Skelly is now at over $11,000 and climbing quickly. The fund's original goal was $10,000, and it has surpassed that in just 19 hours.
The problem is, Skelly has used his restaurant and his flouting of the emergency orders as a political platform. Sure, many may argue that the fight against COVID-19 has become a political battle, with those with science and medical degrees bringing out their information against those with degrees granted from various social media platforms, but is this really about politics and people railing against various freedoms they think have somehow been stolen from them?
Unfortunately for some, it's become exactly that. There are now people in front of Adamson Barbecue, protesting the police presence and the fact that the restaurant has been forced to close in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Are these individuals wearing masks? Many were not, according to the pictures posted on various social media sites, and certainly, those who were dining in were not wearing masks.
The thing is, we know to relieve pressure on health care workers and hospitals, we need to keep socially distant. We need to obey the health orders sooner rather than later so that hopefully, we can actually assemble properly.
I'm hopeful that Skelly finds a peaceful resolution to his current drama with the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario. I'm hopeful we can find an end to the COVID-19 pandemic sooner rather than later.
I just don't think the answer to the current health crisis is going to a BBQ joint and disobeying orders that have been established in the interests of public health.