COVID-19

‘There is enough division’: Rashays to stay closed until December

The restaurateur, from Harrington Park, took to social media on Monday night to make the announcement following the NSW Government’s decision to open up small businesses on October 11.Mr Ykmour told the Macarthur Chronicle it was a “very tough decision” to choose not to open dine-in until December.“We’ve been doing it tough financially for such a long time but our restaurant has always been inclusive,” he said.“I had to walk away for five minutes and have a good, deep think.”“It’s the last hurdle and for it to not be inclusive, it didn’t sit right in my stomach.”Mr Ykmour said he was willing to take the losses to reciprocate the support the local community has shown him.The Rashays franchise has more than 30 restaurants along the east coast of Australia.The southwest Sydney restaurateur said the support from the community had been overwhelming since he made the announcement.“People are overwhelmed because they know what we’ve done for the community, from offering delivery to feeding the homeless,” Mr Ykmour said.While Mr Ykmour said he knew the reaction was going to be big on social media, he wanted to reiterate it wasn’t about the debate around vaccination.“This isn’t about vaccinated or unvaccinated, this is about being inclusive,” he said.“I’m vaccinated, my family is vaccinated, this is not be being anti-vax.”“There has been enough division, especially out in the west and southwest of Sydney.”Mr Ykmour hopes his decision will help ‘unite’ the community as he believes there has been ‘enough division’ through this current Covid lockdown.“Right or wrong, we all feel like we’ve been put aside,” he said.“Australia is behind the world with dividing our people, enough is enough.”Mr Ykmour took to social media to make the announcement on Monday evening, with his TikTok video quickly garnering more than 180,000 views.The video has 15,000 likes and more than 1700 comments, many of which were in support of the businessman.“My staff who are trained for years to welcome everyone with open arms, I don’t want my staff to be facing arguments at the front door on why customers can or cannot come in because of their double vaccine passports,” the video says.Mr Ykmour made headlines in July when videos of his arrest at the Rashays head office at Chester Hill went viral, after an anonymous tip claimed masks were not being worn.He was taken to Parramatta Police Station, where he was later charged with hindering police in their investigations into alleged non-compliance with the mask mandate.There is no suggestion Mr Ykmour was not wearing a mask.Macarthur factbox

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