Peel Region’s top doctor says businesses who do not follow public health rules aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 will face fines.
Dr. Laurence Loh, The region’s medical officer of health, says businesses could face fines of $5,000 a day for violating the rules.
Loh says spread of the virus in workplaces is driving case counts higher and some employers are ignoring public health protocols.
He’s issuing a new public health order today to create the fine system as Peel reported 497 new cases of the virus.
He’s also urging employers to give their workers paid sick days to allow them to stay home if they show symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
Peel says it has had 116 workplace outbreaks from Sept. 1 to Nov. 13.
Ontario reported yet another single-day record for new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, posting 1,581 new diagnoses and 20 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 456 of the new cases were found in Toronto, 130 in York Region and 77 in Ottawa.
Provincial data showed 44,837 tests were completed since the last daily report.
In total, 502 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 107 in intensive care.
The province says 66 people are on ventilators in hospital.
The latest figures bring the total of COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 92,761, with 3,332 deaths, and 77,241 cases resolved.
Meanwhile, Toronto moved in to the “red zone” of Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday, though the city has implemented its own set of stricter rules in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
The change comes a day after Premier Doug Ford lowered the threshold for partial shutdowns in the government’s colour-coded system for pandemic rules.
Toronto was to move to the most restrictive level short of a lockdown — even if the threshold remained higher.
But the city has opted to extend earlier shutdowns imposed by the province, meaning indoor dining will still be barred, and the closure of casinos, bingo halls and event spaces will continue.
Hamilton, Halton and York regions are to move to the “red” level on Monday.
The tiered system has faced criticism since it was announced last week, with many health experts including the Ontario Medical Association calling it too lax.
Critics have noted that, among other things, indoor dining is permitted in restaurants and bars even under the red alert level.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2020.
The Canadian Press