As COVID-19 continues to spread across the GTA, one public health unit is taking steps to protect workers and slow down variants.
Peel Public Health will issue an updated Section 22 order on workplaces Tuesday, directing businesses with five or more cases of COVID-19 over a two-week period to close for 10 days.
As well, affected workers must self-isolate and are not permitted to work at other workplaces during the isolation time.
The measures will apply when Peel Public Health determines it is reasonable to assume that the infections within the workplace came from the work setting, and no obvious source of infection came from outside the business.
Exceptions to this order will include businesses essential to the community, including health care, fire responders, critical infrastructure, emergency child care, and education.
According to Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, workplace exposures in Peel continue to drive the region’s high case counts. Implementing this workplace closure will not only keep employees safe but allow public health officials to investigate workplace exposures without risking their own safety and continuing the spread.
Businesses affected by the closures will also be posted on the Peel Public Health website.
This updated measure will continue as long as Peel is in the ‘grey-lockdown’ level of the provincial framework.
The first closure could be ordered as soon as April 23.
For workers who don’t have paid sick days, Peel Public Health is strongly recommending proving paid leave for employees during the 10-day shutdown.
This comes one day after Premier Doug Ford rejected an NDP motion for mandatory paid sick days in the legislature. Advocates have been calling on the province to bring in paid sick leave for months, saying it would help support essential workers during the pandemic.