Toronto can now officially start shutting down workplaces with COVID cases
Friday marks the day that health officials in Toronto and Peel can start shutting down any workplace which experiences five or more COVID-19 cases in yet another attempt to curb virus spread as case counts in the province remain high.
People have been calling for the late but much-needed measure for weeks after it was shown that "essential" settings such factories and construction sites are extremely ripe for transmission, and are behind a staggering 69 per cent of workplace outbreaks in Toronto.
This is compared to only nine per cent in bars, restaurants and nightclubs, all of which have been largely shuttered for most of the past 13 months.
As such, regional medical officers of health decided to issue an updated Section 22 Order on workplaces earlier this week, which necessitates that any workplace of any kind with five or more linked cases in the past 14 days must report their outbreak to public health, who may opt to partially or fully shut down the business for at least 10 days.
Residents have celebrated the move, which many felt Premier Doug Ford and his team should have made some time ago given the long-running and arguably unfair restrictions on businesses that are hardly contributing to transmission while warehouses, food processing plants and the like remain fully operational — and keep seeing infections.
Employers are being asked to cover sick leave pay for all staff affected by a closure, who will need to self-isolate for the duration of their absence.
Employees who have to take time off work due to COVID-19 can also accss $500 per week for up to four weeks through the federal Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit (CSRB).
Names of the workplaces in question will be posted publicly, as all workplaces with outbreaks have been, through Toronto and Peel Public Health on a daily basis.
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