Main Street Diner owner Nicholas Diamond decided enough was enough, closing the doors to his Baker Street restaurant Saturday afternoon after numerous visiting patrons were ignoring COVID-19 safety protocols.
In a Facebook post, Diamond said he made the incredibly tough call Saturday afternoon during tremendously busy day for what he felt was in the name of community health and safety.
“At lunch today (Saturday) we had an incredible influx of out of town visitors moving thru my business,” Diamond’s Facebook post said.
“Many were pushy, rude and not following basic health orders or advisories.”
“My staff were being pushed around and treated poorly so I said ‘(screw) it’ and closed . . . a restaurant . . . on a Saturday . . . of a long weekend.”
Diamond said he made this decision without even knowing about our new case totals for BC and I hadn’t yet read media reports regarding back to back days of record COVID cases in BC.
Instead, he made the decision solely based experiences throughout the day and the frustrations of staff interactions with unruly customers.
“Now I fully understand and appreciate the economic contribution tourists provide towns like Nelson . . . I’m so incredibly thankful for what our visitors have provided both to the community and my family over the years but come on, now is not the time to put profits before community health,” Diamond said.
“Our nurses, our doctors and our medical teams have made too many sacrifices, literally risking life n limb for months now, for us to give up so close to the vaccine finish line. . ..”
“It’s really seems to me that it is becoming more and more easy to spot visitors from out of area/out of province right now in the downtown and I have a theory as to why. . .,” he added.
Nelson has always been a hub for visitors from Alberta, the Okanagan and Lower Mainlaind.
The picturesque landscape and beautiful surrounding attractions have been a magnet, and a blessing, for local businesses that thrive during long weekends.
However, Diamond views the current COVID-19 pandemic as a wakeup call for everyone.
“Let me be very clear, I’m not anti-Alberta,” Diamond explained.
“I’m not against visitors and I’m not claiming Nelson for ‘locals only’ . . . I’m gutted by how divided our nation has become in recent years, but right we’re smack dab in middle of a pandemic surge and you simply shouldn’t be traveling around the country right now.”
“It seems that a vast majority of the visitors out and about right now are of one specific demographic,” he added.
“They’re either blissfully unaware of public health orders/advisories or they simply couldn’t care less about them.
“Either, or I see as dangerous and a serious health risk to me, my staff and our community.”
Diamond is troubled by the number of out of province license plates he’s seeing in Nelson this past weekend.
He said governments across the country urged people to stay in place — asking people to tighten up their social circles again and be smart — but it seems a certain crowd just aren’t getting the picture.
Diamond closed his restaurant Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Nick Diamond and his aunt Nancy promise to re-open Tuesday at 11 a.m. for the lunchtime crowd at the Baker Street restaurant. — Submitted photo
He said Main Street Diner will re-open at its regular time Tuesday at 11 a.m., for the local lunch crowd that’s invited to enjoy is tasty cuisine on the Baker Street sidewalk deck.
“Me, personally. . . I don’t want your money right now, I want you to go home, be safe and stay healthy,” Diamond said.
“Our incredible, immediate, community right here in the Kootenays is what pays most of my bills, keeps my lights on and pays my rent,” he added.
“Visitors certainly help me plan for my retirement, get ahead in life and help fill my future children’s college fund, but seriously . . . just visit another time.
“We will be so thrilled to welcome you back and provide you with both excellent service and delicious food.”
Saturday many people downtown also witnessd the latest installment of a Freedom Rally in front of Nelson City Hall.
After hearing speakers, some of the attendees marched down Baker Street to the Kootenay Co-op before returning to City Hall.
Three people from Winlaw, Vancouver and Halfmoon Bay on the Sunshine Coast received $2,300 COVID-19 Violation Tickets.
The 58-year-old woman from Winlaw, the 42-year-old man from Halfmoon Bay and the 41-year-old man from Vancouver were issued violations from Nelson Police officers following the rally that attracted approximately 150 participants.
Sunday, Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson also shared Diamond’s post on Twitter, asking the public to “please only travel if necessary.”