A now-defunct restaurant at Big White has been issued a hefty fine for violating public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charley Victoria’s All Day Apres was fined more than $3,000 for violating its own COVID-19 safety protocols and provincial health mandates by hosting a party on the premises. According to WorkSafe BC, the employer failed to follow their own COVID-19 Safety Plan for capacity, physical distancing, mask-wearing and barriers between patrons and staff.
“The employer failed to ensure the health and safety of all workers present at its worksite, a high-risk violation,” wrote WorkSafe BC in an email to Black Press Media.
The fines come after a video surfaced in March showing a large number of patrons attending a party in the restaurant. The patrons were standing, not wearing masks, dancing and cheering in raised voices. There were also people seen dancing on the tables and the bar while staff was working behind the bar.
Music was being played at loud levels from around 5:30 p.m. until approximately 8:30 p.m., when the party started to break up and patrons started to leave, said WorkSafe BC. The RCMP were called and arrived at 9:30 p.m., when only a couple of patrons were still inside the establishment.
Big White has since terminated the restaurant’s lease in response. The ski resort has also identified and fired two of its staff members who attended the party. The restaurant then issued an apology in a press release: owner Justin Reid said he took full ownership for the “ignorant decision” he made out of “pure selfish frustration” over provincial health orders.
“We’re disgusted,” said Big White’s senior vice president Michael Ballingall in March. “It is a blatant disregard for the law.”