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

Rik Abel has opened Rik’s Picks, a vintage record shop on Johnston Road. (TERESA BIRD / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses get innovative during pandemic

See what’s new in the Port Alberni business community

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Education advisor Tom McEvay congratulates two Alberni Valley Bulldogs on their high academic achievements for the 2015-16 season: Quinn Syrydiuk, left, for college and Cayden Kraus for high school. (KAICEE TROTT PHOTO)
BCHL: Port Alberni’s Tom McEvay joins Coquitlam Express as education advisor

McEvay now schools players for three teams, including Alberni and Nanaimo

Gary Bender from Bailey Electric secures two art banners on lampposts at Argyle Street and Sixth Avenue in May 2020. Despite a delay due to COVID-19 measures, the Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith was able to collect and put up half of the art banners it usually does in the Rotary Arts District. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rotary Arts District banner program switches to ‘paint at home’ for 2021

Arrowsmith Rotary Club needs 80 registrations to go ahead this year

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
BUDGET 2021: City of Port Alberni looks at tax increase of 3.95 percent

City of Port Alberni held its first budget meeting of the year

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

Most Read