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People in Toronto want officials to name-and-shame restaurants that break rules

Should the City of Toronto be publicizing the names of bars and restaurants where fines have been issued for non-compliance with pandemic orders?

A growing number of locals seem to think so, especially now that Hamilton has formalized the process.

As reported by The Canadian Press, Hamilton City Council voted one week ago today to start publicly naming businesses found to be violating COVID-19 restrictions moving forward.

The city had originally stated it would only name such establishments if they were "linked to an outbreak" or charged under the Reopening Ontario Act in a "high-risk situation."

Now, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and discourage bad behaviour, the city southwest of Toronto is maintaining a public list of businesses that have been charged under current pandemic regulations and by-laws.

As of today, five entries appear on Hamilton Public Health's list, each charged for a variety of offences including the failure to ensure physical distancing, a lack of face coverings, serving liquor past the red zone's 9 p.m. last call and not having contact tracing systems in place.

Toronto, by contrast, announced on Monday that five different food and drink establishments in the city's Entertainment District had been charged for allowing patrons to illegally dine indoors, but did not name any.

Another four restaurants in the high-density neighbourhood were issued warning letters for non-compliance with existing provincial and municipal restrictions but, again, none were named.

"The restaurants should be named and instead of fined, be shut down for 2 weeks," wrote one commenter on blogTO's post about Pegg's announcement.

"Officials should name the restaurants similar to what they do with the DineSafe program," mused another.

At present, Toronto is not naming every restaurant found to be in violation of public health measures.

The city has, however, named a number of establishments in which a large number of people were thought to have been exposed to the virus through infected staff members: The Brass Rail, Club ParadiseMARBL, King Taps and Casa Mezcal among them.

Regulars Bar at King and Bathurst was called out by Toronto Public Health in September after 600 potential exposures, as was Yonge Street Warehouse, where as many as 1,700 people were potentially exposed to the virus between Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.

It is not known if any of the bars charged this weekend in Toronto were repeat offenders.

What we do know is that the establishments in question will be fined handsomely for flouting the measures laid out in Ontario's new colour-coded red zone framework and Toronto's own "specific enhanced measures."

Under Section 22 of the province's Health Protection and Promotion Act, individuals can now be fined up to $5,000 a day for not following the rules put in place by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa on Saturday. Businesses can be fined up to $25,000 per day for each 24-hour period of non-compliance.

Lead photo by

Karen Longwell

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