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Peel health unit closes first businesses under new public health orders

Last Updated Apr 24, 2021 at 2:50 pm EDT

Exterior view of the Amazon fulfillment warehouse in Brampton. CITYNEWS/Daniel Berry

Peel Public Health has ordered the partial closure of two Amazon fulfillment centres in Brampton and Bolton under its new Section 22 orders, after five or more cases of COVID-19 were detected in the last 14 days.

The orders came into effect at midnight and requires the businesses located at 8050 Heritage Road in Brampton and 12724 Coleraine Drive in Bolton to close for at least 10 days. Affected workers are required to self-isolate and are also unable to work at other workplaces during the isolation period.

No word on exactly how many employees are affected but the partial closure applies to a mass dismissal of a shift or work area while a full closure under the order would apply to the entire workplace.

Both health units in Peel and Toronto have issued Section 22 orders, which gives medical officials the powers to limit the spread of communicable diseases.

Peel says it plans to make public which businesses have been closed on a daily basis, Monday to Friday, however, case numbers will not be disclosed.

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.

“Peel Public Health will be reviewing workplaces that meet the closure criteria on a daily basis to determine what action is required,” the health unit said in a statement. “Absent legislated paid sick days, employers required to close under these provisions are strongly recommended to provide paid leave for impacted employees.”

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, says approximately 10 workplaces are under investigation but none have been closed as of yet. That action is not expected until Monday, according to a release sent out Saturday afternoon.

“Our first priority is to identify workplaces that fall under the Order,” she tweeted. “This affects people’s jobs. It must be done carefully.”

As of April 22, Toronto was showing 44 active outbreaks in workplace settings such as offices, warehouses, construction and food processing.