A downtown Vancouver restaurant said Vancouver police had “exaggerated” the number of people attending their New Years party.
Over the weekend, Cold Tea, a modern Sino-Vietnamese restaurant near Granville and Davie streets, came under fire after the VPD announced it had a big New Years party with around 100 people in attendance.
In his press release released on January 1, 2021, the VPD says agents responded to a call around 11 p.m. about a private, closed-door party at the restaurant.
Officers estimate that around 100 people were in attendance and that food and alcohol were being served. However, bars and restaurants in Vancouver were prohibited from serving alcohol after 8 p.m. on New Years Eve.
The owners were fined $ 2,300 and the party was closed.
In an e-mail to Vancouver is awesome, the owners of Cold Tea, Paul Rivas and Ron Cheng, write that the police never “did a count” and that there were “38 people, not 100”.
The owners add that the 38 people were seated at “socially distant tables”, but that “Unfortunately, when the police stormed the restaurant through the back door, the optics were not good as the group was taking pictures together, without a mask. ”
Rivas and Cheng say, “The group was about to leave so they didn’t think they needed to call the police to help them,” but added, “It was after 10pm, however, time to leave. ”
Sale and service of alcohol prohibited after 8 p.m.
As the owners of Cold Tea note that the group was about to leave, the VPD says alcohol and food were being served at 11 p.m. when it closed the party.
Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry made the alcohol announcement Wednesday afternoon, December 30, during the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing.
Henry said the order was an attempt to mitigate “risky behavior” and prevent parties from popping up, especially at resorts where New Year’s celebrations are common.
Rivas and Cheng add that “they have high standards and protocols regarding covid, and will continue to do so.”
The couple added that they struggled to open during the pandemic: ” [We] had a much harder time than most other restaurants because they are considered a startup and not eligible for government grants or financial assistance.
“In the end, Cold Tea was just trying to survive and earn rent for this month, they had no intention of breaking any regulations. ”
Rivas and Cheng also claim to have received “hateful comments with racist overtones aimed at them on social networks” and that their “restaurant has been physically vandalized because of this situation”.
VIA has contacted the VPD for comment.