By: Mike Anderson

York Region will begin charging businesses that fail to stop or prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a media release issued on Nov. 22.

The Class Order was initiated by Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, and falls under Sec. 22 of the Province of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Dr. Kurji said the order is “the next step in a series of enhanced measures put in place by York Region to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The order states that “failure to comply with the Class Order is an offence for which offenders may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of up to $5,000 (for a person) or $25,000 (for a corporation) for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.”

The measure follows a letter issued to the Premier earlier this month by York Region Chair and CEO Wayne Emmerson and Dr. Kurji, on behalf of York’s Mayors and Regional Councillors, requesting that the region be allowed to opt-out of a lockdown that was later announced for Toronto and Peel Region. 

The letter argued that the Red-Control Zone restrictions, limiting five people indoors and 25 outdoors for public events and social gatherings, should be allowed to work before the province moved the region into lockdown. The Class Order came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23.

It requires shopping malls to set a maximum capacity for patrons and monitor the capacity limit to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained by patrons and mall staff in common areas, stores, washrooms, hallways and entrances at all times.

All stores in the shopping mall must also set a maximum capacity limit and actively monitor that capacity limit to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained. 

The shopping mall must also actively manage all line-ups, inside or outside the shopping mall, or where patrons are congregating, maintaining physical distancing.

Retail stores must also “immediately set a maximum capacity for patrons and actively monitor the capacity limit to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained by patrons and mall staff in common areas, stores, washrooms, hallways and entrances at all times.” 

Meeting and event spaces, including banquet halls, hotel conference rooms and special event venues, also fall under the Class Order.

“The operators of these businesses must ensure all indoor and outdoor gatherings for religious services, ceremonies or rites in weddings, funerals and celebrations of life do not exceed the number of persons that can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from each other,” the order reads. 

They also must “ensure that, in no event, shall the gathering exceed a maximum of 50 persons.”

 

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