The owners of the Peterborough, Ont., restaurant Peterburgers, who continually flouted Ontario’s COVID-19 protocols amid the pandemic, will close their businesses in August.
In a Facebook video Wednesday, after announcing a new menu, Peterburgers owners Roy Asselstine and his wife Nicole Comber said their restaurant on the corner of George Street North and Lake Street would close for good on August 5, minus three years later. opening.
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The couple and the company were in the spotlight during much of the COVID-19 pandemic for their mandatory anti-COVID-19 stances, so much so that Peterborough Public Health issued three fines against the company in 2021 under the Ontario reopening. Finally, on December 1, 2021, the health unit ordered the restaurant closed for continued noncompliance with regulations, including failure to comply with the collection of customer contact information, the request for proof of vaccination and identification, and the use of face coverings.
The business reopened in the spring of 2022 and has also organized a series of “freedom” rallies against government restrictions due to the pandemic. The couple and others during the pandemic formed a group called “Hold Fast” and often participated in anti-vaccine and COVID-19 policy rallies around town and in Kingston. Demonstrations outside his restaurant led to noise ordinance fines being issued in April.
The couple also participated in the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa.
When federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was accosted by protesters in Peterborough in May, Asseltine social media posts before Singh’s arrival, encouraging people to give the politician a “warm welcome” and saying that “the Liberal-NDP coalition is trying to destroy our country”.
On Wednesday’s live videoThe couple say they are working on launching an “exciting new business venture” but did not offer details.
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The couple say they refused to raise menu prices amid global supply shortages and “skyrocketing” inflation. They also cited closings and a lease that expires this November as reasons to close.
“As bittersweet as it is for us, it’s been a very uphill battle to keep Peterburgers open,” Comber said in the 10-minute video.
“We are going to close a little earlier because it is time.”
Comber said several Peterborough businesses have closed during the pandemic and “haven’t fought the battles we’ve been fighting.”
“We’re really proud of ourselves and really humbled and appreciative of our supporters,” Comber said.
Asselstine said the decision was “a little heartbreaking” but his next opportunity was “too good to pass up.”
“We’ve struggled until now to keep this place going,” he said. “The sales are still there. But inflation has gotten so high that we should be selling a plate of fries for $12. We’d have to charge that much money to make a profit, and we’re not going to do that.
“We are not going to have a slow death due to inflation.”
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