Vancouver restaurant owner apologizes for "street party" terminology

Apr 22 2021, 12:53 pm

The owner of a Vancouver restaurant who said this week she plans to host a “rally and dance party” to protest the current public health orders, has now apologized for her terminology, but she is not backtracking on her plans.

“I apologize if I offended anybody with my choice of words,” said Rebecca Matthews in an Instagram post.

Matthews is the owner of Corduroy Lounge in Kitsilano. Earlier this month, the restaurant served customers indoors despite British Columbia’s current restrictions on indoor dining.

Later, a video was shared on social media showing the restaurant crowded with patrons. Matthews could be seen speaking to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) inspectors as people inside the restaurant chanted “get out.”

The City of Vancouver would later announce that it had suspended Corduroy’s business licence until April 20, 2021. Its liquor licence was also suspended shortly after.

Matthews recently announced plans to host a protest this Friday evening called “The Great Reset.”

The restaurant owner has now clarified on Instagram that it was “very poor of me [to suggest] a block-party-style event, like they’re blocking off the street for us.”

Matthews says she’s being made out to be a villain and that she “never expected” to be in this position.

“I just feel so strongly about the incredible harm that’s been happening to small businesses,” she furthers. “I don’t think people realize how many people have basically lost their livelihoods. I don’t think the people in charge are thinking about that massive impact – or maybe they are and they’re just hoping we’re just going to be quiet – I don’t know what it is.”

Matthews calls the whole situation “insane” and claims, “They’re trying to wipe us out. They are, and we need to bring awareness because if we just lay down and take it, they’ll just do it.”

As such, she said the event will still go ahead this Friday at 6 pm.

“The reason is still the same but [I] just amended a poor choice in words,” she says.

BC Restaurant Association “tried to work” with Corduroy

In an interview with Daily Hive, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFSA) President and CEO Ian Tostenson said his association “tried to work” with Matthews before she “did what she did” on the Easter long weekend.

“We were trying to work with her as an organization on some of the accessibility for grants,” he said. “We were trying to work with her to see if we could get her a patio, even beside a restaurant. We were trying to do things and she was reluctant or didn’t want to do things.”

Ultimately, Totenson said that while he knows a lot of people feel very strongly about her position, he wishes Matthews “would find another way of doing this,” adding he’s worried for her business, particularly with this Friday’s planned event.

“She’s going to upset a lot of people by doing that,” he said. “I think she’s doing herself harm, and she’s sending entirely the wrong message that as the restaurant industry, we don’t want any part of.”

Instead, he’d like Matthews to recognize that the industry will potentially be able to reopen by the end of May and that he still wants her business to be a part of that.

In the meantime, Totenson said he doesn’t want this particular situation “to take away from the integrity of the thousands of businesses that have done it right in BC.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer
Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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