The Ontario government is continuing its series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce the COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Last November, inspections were held in LGL to increase education and compliance.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit welcomed the provincial government’s education and enforcement team to several communities, including Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls areas. Another visit has been organized for April 14 and 15 in the Leeds and Grenville area.
During the campaign, a team of 18 provincial offences officers from across ministries will be visiting local businesses and work places (including but not limited to retail stores, restaurants, and gyms) to check for COVID-19 precautionary measures. While in the Red Zone, all businesses are required to have:
- Screening for employees and patrons
- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects their eyes, nose and mouth as described in their safety plan.
- Physical distancing
- Capacity limits must be posted
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Safety plans
These precautions are of the utmost importance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. For information on specific public health requirements for your business sector please visit our webpage at https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/
These inspections are primarily focused on education and outreach – confirming that businesses are doing the right things and keeping employees, consumers and the public safe and providing them the opportunity to contact public health for continued support. However charges can be laid if there is a blatant disregard for public health measures and non-compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act.
The most common areas of non-compliance during all campaigns to date have been improper mask use, lack of a safety plan, lack of employee screening, and improper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. Locally the Health Unit has received several complaints about inconsistent mask use, the lack of proper physical distancing and overcrowding at our local retail and food service businesses. We also know that workplaces may loosen their adherence to measures in common employee areas. There are more than 200 sector-specific guidance resources at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help business owners and operators create their workplace safety plan. During each visit, officers provide business owners with guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. Businesses will be emailed a report after the visit. These campaigns are developed in consultation with local health units and support Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework under the Reopening Ontario Act.
For more information about operating a business during COVID-19, visit: https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/business-re-opening/