Tim Hortons removes sign ordering customers to leave after 30 minutes
TORONTO -- A Tim Hortons location in Ottawa has taken down a sign threatening customers with trespassing if they stay longer than 30 minutes.
The sign was posted at a Tim’s on Queen Street in downtown Ottawa and warned customers that the police would be called if anyone failed to leave after the allotted time.
“This is to inform you that under the Trespass to Property Act, that you are not under any circumstances, permitted access to, or be on the premises of, Tim Horton’s 330 Queen St Ottawa,” the sign read.
“This notification is to clear the place within 30 minutes after purchase (sic) Tim Horton’s product, failure to do so will consider (sic) as a trespassing, the Ottawa Police Service will be contacted, who will be instructed to charge you under the Trespass to Property Act.
“A copy of this letter has been sent to the Ottawa Carleton Police.”
The notice, which was still in place at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, was signed by restaurant management.
A spokesperson for the company told CTVNews.ca late Saturday that the sign has now been removed.
“At Tim Hortons we strive to provide a welcoming environment for all guests,” a Tim Hortons spokesperson said.
“This includes time to sit and enjoy their purchases. The restaurant was attempting to deal with a few isolated issues of extreme loitering, but the sign doesn’t reflect our values of creating a welcoming environment, so it has been removed.”
Staff on site told CTV News Ottawa the sign was posted for “the safety of customers and staff” and that they “see a lot of homeless people.”
But backlash to the sign was fierce. A local councillor and commentators on social media said the sign discriminated against those with disabilities and senior citizens.
"That excuse about security, I just don't buy it," said Somerset ward councillor Catherine McKenney."This discriminates against people who are homeless, seniors as well, people with disabilities."
One Twitter user called the sign “shameful,” another said it was because of the government’s failure to deal with homelessness. But others agreed with the sign and said that loitering is a problem for some Ottawa businesses.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Christina Succi