Cold Tea Restaurant. (Google Maps)

Cold Tea Restaurant. (Google Maps)

Vancouver restaurant faces backlash, accused of hosting 100-person party on New Year’s Eve

COVID restrictions meant the restaurant could not host parties of any size

A Vancouver restaurant has been fined $2,300 for allegedly breaking provincial health orders on New Year’s Eve.

Cold Tea Restaurant, located at the corner of Granville and Davie in the city’s downtown, received a fine shortly after 11 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Sgt. Steve Addison said “officers did issue a $2,300 ticket after observing a large social gathering in violation of the public health order.” Addison said the officers estimated there were 85 to 100 people in attendance. None of the attendees were fined.

B.C. health officials imposed strict last-minute regulations for New Year’s Eve after fears that large gatherings of intoxicated people could lead to greater spread of COVID-19. The one-day rules shut down alcohol sales, both at restaurants and in stores, at 8 p.m. sharp. As of 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, earlier restrictions of a 10 p.m. last call for alcohol at restaurants resume until at least midnight on Jan. 8, when the province will decide whether to lift restrictions that have been in place for some regions since November. A ban on gatherings of any size has been in place for weeks.

The restaurant, which on its website describes itself as a Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant, was blasted on social media for failing to adhere to COVID rules. Some commenters said the restaurant was “basically done” while others called their actions “deplorable.”

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, the restaurant said the public commentary “makes them look a lot worse than the situation really was.”

“It was 38 people, they were sitting at at socially distanced tables. The Police never did a head count,” a restaurant spokesperson stated.

“Unfortunately when the police stormed the restaurant through the back door, the optics weren’t good, as the group was in the process of taking pictures together, mask-less.”

The spokesperson said that management and owners had asked the group to mask up but that’s as much as they were going to do.

The spokesperson said the group was in the process of leaving, but did acknowledge that the situation was happening after 10 p.m.

The restaurant, which opened in mid-May 2020, stated that they did not qualify for government assistance including rent relief,Canada Emergency Business Account loans or the wage subsidy.

“At the end of the day Cold Tea was simply trying to survive and make rent for this month, they had no intention of breaking the regulations,” the spokesperson added. “At this point it comes down to their livelihood, they’ve followed the rules until this point and the article makes them look a lot worse than the situation really was. I think restaurants are struggling enough as is and it’s unfortunate that things got exaggerated. They understand the mistakes that were made, but are paying for far worse.”

The spokesperson said that Cold Tea Restaurant has been vandalized since news broke of the fine.

READ MORE: B.C. cuts off New Year’s Eve liquor sales at 8 p.m.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cheryl Dill visits the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Talking jobs, tourism and business with Cheryl Dill in Parksville

Podcast: COVID-19 has far-reaching impacts on Vancouver Island

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Vandals strike in Parksville, prowler lurks in Nanoose Bay

Oceanside RCMP receive 276 complaints in one-week period

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

This photo shows crews battling the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Six fortunate to escape terrifying early-morning fire in Greater Victoria

Damage to the duplex extensive with one resident said to be ‘catatonic’ after escaping building

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

Most Read