Peel region and Toronto orders workplaces with 5 or more COVID-19 cases to shut down
Peel Region and Toronto on Tuesday issued new instructions ordering workplaces with five or more recent coronavirus cases to shut down for 10 days in most instances in a bid to stem the spread of the virus in settings largely permitted to operate as normal during the Ford’s government’s third state of emergency.
The public health region just west of Toronto announced Tuesday morning that it would be issuing “an updated Section 22 Order on workplaces” directing all businesses with five or more cases of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days to close for 10 days.
Toronto Public Health issues Section 22 Class Order to close workplaces to manage #COVID19 outbreaks. News release: https://t.co/XRtq6ezFBc pic.twitter.com/s1bNX7h34L
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 20, 2021
Workplace exposures in Peel Region continue to drive the region’s high case counts of COVID-19. Expedited closure will also allow Peel Public Health to investigate workplace exposures without the risk of continued spread, Peel region said in a statement.
“Peel Public Health strongly recommends that employers directed to close under this Order provide paid leave for impacted employees. Businesses essential to the well-being of our community will be exempt from full closure. This includes healthcare, first responders, critical infrastructure, emergency childcare, education, and others. The complete list is being developed and will be included in the Order,” it said.
The names of all affected businesses will be published on Peel region web site while they are closed. This list will not be published until the first businesses affected are notified this week.
Later on Tuesday, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a statement saying Toronto would do the same as Peel.
Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement acknowledging the lack of sick leave in some instances, urging employers to “follow the public health advice to stop outbreaks and protect their employees including against the financial consequences of illness.”
Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said his government would continue pressuring the federal government to improve its sick leave program, rather than legislate paid time off or develop any program of their own.
“We’ve been advocating the federal government to improve the program. We saw the budget yesterday, more than $100 billion in new spending, and ours and other province’s calls to improve the sick leave program, that wasn’t in the budget,” McNaughton said.
Without specifying, McNaughton said the province would assist Peel in helping any workers forced to isolate themselves at home due to the new measure.
“We’ll be working with local public health to make sure these workers are looked after,” he said.
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