Remember when a whole troop of police officers showed up (some of them on horseback!) to maintain order among anti-lockdown protesters outside Adamson Barbecue in November, after the Etobicoke restaurant opened in defiance of government orders and became BBQanon ground zero?
Well, they didn’t do it for free — and cops do not come cheap.
The bill for three days worth of Toronto Police Services at Adam Skelly’s Texas-style BBQ joint during the week of Nov. 23, 2020 wound up totalling roughly $165,188, according to Toronto’s Board of Health.
Additional expenses incurred while carrying out the directions of Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de villa that week included nearly $13,000 in combined Toronto Public Health and Municipal Licensing staff costs, as well as just over $9,000 paid to contractors who locked and sealed the restaurant.
Skelly is on the hook for all of it, as evidenced by a staggering invoice he posted as an Instagram Story this weekend.
“This is the invoice Toronto sent me for the police they hired to keep everyone safe from my brisket,” wrote Skelly when sharing an image of an undated bill from the city’s Board of Health.
Included in the post was a yes-or-no poll for respondents to weigh in on whether or not Skelly should actually pay the bill.
Needless to say, he recieved a lot of “no” votes from his zealous supporters, who together famously raised more than $330,000 to cover Skelly’s legal expenses after the business owner was arrested and charged for (among other things) violating the Reopening Ontario Act.
A nearly $200,000 bill from the city would certainly take a huge chunk out of that fund, which Skelly has already been using to fight the government in court.
Just this weekend, in fact, Skelly revealed during a press conference that he has formally filed a challenge with the Ontario Superior Court in the hopes of winning permission for his and all other businesses to reopen despite provincial lockdown rules.
Skelly told reporters on Saturday that he and his lawyers are “going after the entire Reopening Ontario Act.”
“It’s between me and my company and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario,” said Skelly, referring to his court filing. “This is challenging the constitutionality of the entire emergency order that’s been deployed at a provincial level.”
Skelly reiterated, as he has in the past, that he does not believe the government has shown adequate scientific proof of the coronavirus to justify such strict lockdown measures.
Currently, Toronto remains under full provincewide shutdown orders with stay-at-home measures in effect. At the time of Skelly’s now-infamous reopening stunt in November, Toronto was in the grey zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework, which forbids indoor dining and restricts restaurants to take-out and delivery only.
“We had hundreds of people outside, hundreds of people inside, we were all shaking hands and hugging each other,” said Skelly of the three-day-long reopening during his press conference on Saturday.
“Everybody was engaging in civil disobedience. Nobody got sick, there’s been no contact tracing data revealing that anybody was sick in the hospital, in the ICU or died from anything that happened at my restaurant.”
The controversial restaurant owner, along with other prominent local anti-lockdown figures such as Chris Sky and Vladislav Sobolev, has maintained for months that Ontario’s forced business closures violate both international human rights and constitutional freedoms.
Skelly said on Saturday that he expects his case will make it to court sometime this summer, and that if he proves successful, all businesses will be allowed to reopen regardless of any provincial, federal or municipal rules still in place at the time.