About 100 people gathered in support of a Hope, B.C., restaurant that has continued to defy B.C.’s vaccine passport program on Saturday.
Rolly’s Restaurant has had its business and liquor licences suspended for refusing to check diners’ COVID-19 immunization status, as required under the BC Vaccine Card program.
Since then, the restaurant has kept its doors open, despite orders that it cease operations.
Demonstrators refused to speak with Global News, citing what they called “disgusting” reporting they claimed did not air “both sides” of the issue.
Attendees at the rally carried signs with messages ranging from “Keep Canada free” to “It’s not about your health, it’s about control” and “hoax.”
One speaker, who identified himself as “Josh,” disputed the legal authority of health mandates and claimed the vaccine was “an experimental kill shot,” “child abuse” and “murder.”
Out of more than 57 million doses administered in Canada, 195 people have later died after receiving one — with only six deaths conclusively linked to a vaccine side-effect.
How the restaurant remains in operation with neither a business nor a liquor licence remains unclear.
The District of Hope says under its bylaws it can fine the business $100 per day for operating without a business licence.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and the district have both previously suggested that enforcement now lies in the hands of Fraser Health, which could seek a court injunction to shutter the restaurant.
Global News requested comment from Fraser Health on Saturday.
Global News also reached out to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, but did not receive a response.
The Eastern Fraser Valley remains the epicentre of COVID-19 transmission in the Lower Mainland.
Hope has Fraser Health’s highest daily case rate per capita and lowest vaccination rate, followed by Chilliwack.
The number of so-called “breakthrough” cases among fully vaccinated British Columbians has grown in recent weeks, now accounting for about one in three new infections.
On a per-capita basis, however, the vaccines’ effectiveness against COVID-19 remains clear. Unvaccinated people represented 273.3 cases per 100,000 people in the last week, compared to just 30.4 per 100,000 among fully vaccinated people.
People who aren’t fully vaccinated made up 68.3 per cent of COVID-19 hospital cases over the past two weeks, and 90 per cent of cases in intensive care on Friday.