Saturday, April 17

Kemptville, Ontario. Restaurant to open for ‘mask burning party’ amid COVID-19 shutdown

A Kemptville restaurant will host an in-person event led by Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier on the first night of Ontario’s third COVID-19 shutdown.

In a Facebook post, The South Branch Bistro said it would open despite the province’s stay-at-home order, which took effect Thursday. Depending on the emergency order, restaurants can only be open for take out or home delivery.

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“We are faced with two options: stay open to feed our family or close forever. We opt for the former over the latter. Sure, you can boycott our business for making this decision, but very soon we will have no business for you to boycott, ”the Facebook post said.

According to a tweet from No More Lockdowns Canada, a group started by the independent MPP for the region, Hillier will speak at the event.

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Hillier has been consistently criticized over the past year for speaking out against and contravening public health guidelines, arguing that lockdowns do more harm than good.

The announcement also said the event would include live music and food from the restaurant, which was echoed in the restaurant’s Facebook post.

According to the restaurant, no masks will be physically burned at the event.

“Ps, the ‘mask burning party’ was a joke and a lot of people took it seriously. We will not burn masks … just metaphorically. “

In a statement released Thursday, North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford said she and the council have received multiple complaints about the event.

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“City staff have been in contact with OPP and representatives from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit who are prepared to respond, as needed, to help the council keep our community safe,” said Peckford.

She said the event “compromises crucial public health protocols that our community is working hard to follow.”

Recently, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit warned of an increase in cases in its regions bordering Ottawa, specifically in Kemptville.

The health unit said it had recorded a big jump in the united counties of Leeds and Grenville East since March 28. About 35 percent of the 41 cases seen in that region were worrisome variants.

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Ontario’s stay-at-home order will remain in effect for four weeks. By law, residents are required to stay home except for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping, picking up prescription drugs, accessing medical care, going to work when it can’t be done remotely, and exercising close to home.

Anyone found in violation of the province’s emergency order can be fined up to $ 100,000.

The order was implemented as cases across the province continue to rise, and ICU beds fill up across the country.

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In Ontario, hospitalizations increased 41 percent in the past two weeks, and the worrisome new variants now account for 65 percent of all cases in the province.

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OPP East Region said they are aware of the planned meeting.

“The OPP will continue to support the efforts of our ordinance officers and, in a circumstance where a police response is needed, we will respond,” said Annie Collins, OPP media officer.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit had no comment on the matter.

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No More Lockdowns Canada and South Branch Bistro have not yet responded to requests for comment.

– with files from Ryan Rocca and Saba Aziz of Global News

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