Officials in York Region have charged multiple businesses and a short-term rental with violating COVID-19 health and safety orders in a one-week period.
Bylaw officers and public health officials from Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Whitchurch – Stouffville, Newmarket, Markham, and Georgina laid charges against 25 businesses between January 4 and 10.
The businesses were charged under the Reopening Ontario Act, and each received a fine totalling $880.
Violations include a supermarket in Markham with no safety plan and a convenience store in Aurora where an employee was not wearing a mask.
A residence in Whitchurch – Stouffville that was being used as a short-term rental was charged three times for failing to comply with gathering limits.
A Newmarket business was ordered to close after it was found to be permitting in-store shopping on several occasions. Staff at Point of Light (Mind Body Spirit) was previously fined for the offence in December.
Several businesses throughout the region, including a hairdresser, a barbershop, and a shoe store, were charged for being open despite not being deemed “essential” under provincial health orders.
The charges were laid when the Ontario-wide lockdown was still in effect.
In the Grey zone of the province’s COVID-19 framework, non-essential businesses were closed, retail stores could only offer curbside pick-up or delivery, and restaurants could only be open for pick-up, drive-thru, and delivery.
As well, indoor gatherings could only be held with members of the same household, and outdoor gatherings were capped at 10 people.
As of January 14, Ontario has entered a State of Emergency, and the government has issued a Stay at Home order. The measures will be in place for at least 28 days.
Under the orders, residents must stay home and only go out for essential trips, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, for exercise, or for essential work.