Kootenays restaurant closes for long weekend after being overwhelmed by rude tourists

'Seriously, visit another time'

A restaurateur in the Kootenays says he closed his restaurant in the middle of a busy Saturday on a long weekend after being overwhelmed by rude tourists.

Nick Diamond, owner of the Main Street Diner in Nelson, B.C., took to Facebook over the weekend to explain his decision.

He said Saturday saw an “incredible influx” of out-of-town visitors, many who were “pushy, rude and not following basic health orders or advisories" while dining on the patio.

Staff were being “pushed around and treated poorly,” so Diamond pulled the plug on the weekend. Explaining that he fully understands and appreciates the support tourism brings to the Nelson economy, but “now is not the time to put profits before community health.”

Diamond goes on to say that visitors are becoming easier and easier to spot in the community.

“Let me be very clear, I’m not anti-Alberta, 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 now we’re smack dab in middle of a pandemic surge and you simply shouldn’t be traveling around the country.”

He said the “vast majority” of visitors are either unaware of public health orders or simply don’t care about them.

“Additionally if you are traveling for what you see as a justified reason then I’d also bet you aren’t; dining out in large groups, pulling tables together when signs clearly state not to, asking questions like ‘can I sit inside’ or walking around without a mask on,” he said, adding there are certainly many people who travelled over the long weekend responsibly by mostly keeping to themselves.

Diamond called the number of out-of-province phone numbers and license plates he saw in Nelson over the weekend “incredibly concerning.”

“Me, personally, I don’t want your money right now, I want you to go home, be safe and stay healthy,” he 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. 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.”

Diamond said in his post that he is planning on reopening the Main Street Diner on Tuesday morning, after the long weekend.

Mayors in the communities of Osoyoos and Tofino also both reported seeing an increase in visitors over the weekend.

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