The owner of a barbecue restaurant in Canada's largest city of Toronto on Wednesday attracted a crowd of anti-mask protestors who support his defiance of a pandemic lockdown, as well as strong rebukes from officials.
Adam Skelly's Adamson Barbecue has continued to operate since Tuesday, despite public health orders against serving customers inside restaurants amid a Covid-19 surge in the region.
"We will be opening for in-restaurant dining against provincial orders," Skelly said in an online video.
"Enough is enough," he added, arguing that relatively few cases had been linked to bars and restaurants.
His supporters outside chanted "Freedom!" and waved placards Wednesday that read "End the lockdown now!"
Police also showed up, holding back a crowd of about 100 diners as officers spoke with Skelly and his lawyers inside.
"You're putting people's lives in jeopardy," Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a daily briefing.
"This guy is just totally ignoring public health officials. That's how this spreads, people are dying from Covid, and he just wants to say forget it? It's irresponsible and ridiculous," he said.
Skelly was eventually charged with violating Covid-19 restrictions and operating without a business licence after the city revoked it on Tuesday, and faces fines that could reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Regardless the restaurant sold out of brisket, spare ribs, chicken and pulled pork for a second day in a row on Wednesday.
Skelly has become a lightning rod for Canadians suffering pandemic fatigue as several provinces went into a second lockdown to stem a surge of new cases.
As of Wednesday, public health authorities said the number of Covid-19 cases across Canada topped 345,000, including nearly 12,000 deaths.
The Toronto area reported nearly 900 new cases.