Hamilton big-box stores, essential businesses target of weekend COVID-19 safety blitz

 

Hamilton's big-box stores and essential businesses will be the target of provincial offences officers this weekend who will be visiting them to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols are being followed.

In a press release issued by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development on Friday (Jan.), Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo were singled out for a COVID-19 inspection blitz.

"The inspections are designed to ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines and properly protecting workers and customers from COVID-19," the release said.

"So far this year, 112 tickets have been issued to businesses and individuals during three inspection campaigns."

The officers have stopped in at more than 1,100 essential business in January and this weekend the plan is for them to inspect 400 in the three cities. These inspection campaigns were developed in consultation with local public health units.

"We've marshalled hundreds of officers to inspect over 1,000 businesses in a few short weeks, and we'll keep it up as long as there are bad actors out there," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development in the release.

"Our government is confident that the majority of workplaces are taking all necessary steps to protect their customers and workers from the spread of COVID-19."

However, if we find businesses putting people at risk, we will take immediate action. This late in the pandemic, there is absolutely no excuse for owners, staff and customers alike not to be following health and safety rules."

The most common reasons cited for non-compliance were failure to properly screen staff and patrons, improper social distancing and workplaces not having adequate COVID-19 workplace safety plans.

The upcoming weekend blitzes in Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo will be followed by additional inspection campaigns in Halton and Huron Perth next week.

Inspections took place last weekend in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions, during which a total of 107 provincial offences officers from across the Ontario government conducted nearly 700 workplace visits. They found 41 per cent of businesses had at least one issue of non-compliance and 98 tickets were issued.

Photo courtesy The Canadian Press

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