Video Prompts Investigation into Toronto Restaurant

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TORONTO — MARBL, a popular Toronto restaurant, is under investigation after a video released on social media over the weekend appeared to show patrons and staff failing to follow COVID-19 public-health rules.

A video, originally published on Instagram, shows dozens of patrons crammed into a partially outdoor seating section, while surrounded by unmasked employees carrying drinks. A version posted on Twitter had been viewed more than 18,000 times by Tuesday and many social-media users called on local and provincial authorities to strip the bar of its liquor licence.

The city’s mayor, John Tory, confirmed the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has launched an investigation into the downtown restaurant.

MARBL confirmed in a statement to The Canadian Press that the video was authentic, but insisted it did not show the restaurant was breaking public-health rules.

“When thunderstorms began in the middle of service on Friday, we were forced to bring the group under the covered portion of our patio to finish their evening. The two minutes of footage that has been shared is an anomaly and not reflective of the rest of the evening, which was all socially distanced,” said the club’s statement.

Tory, however, said public-health guidelines apply to all restaurants and bars under current Stage-Two restrictions, regardless of the weather conditions.

“It was made fairly clear at the beginning that…people who are on the outdoor patios, which were permitted, would have to seek shelter elsewhere other than piling into these establishments,” Tory told a news conference on Monday.

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