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Fines have been issued but most businesses following COVID-19 requirements

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is continuing inspection and enforcement of local businesses and other public establishments during the pandemic.

“The vast majority of the businesses in our community have been diligent in following COVID-19 requirements to protect the health and safety of their customers and workers and I want to thank them for their ongoing efforts,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO.

HPEPH received 1,186 COVID-19 related enforcement complaints in 2020, and to date, 1,745 have been received in 2021.

HPEPH Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) and Tobacco Enforcement Officers respond to complaints using a progressive enforcement approach which involves first educating businesses on current public health regulations and requirements, then issuing warnings and laying charges when there is ongoing non-compliance.

Once charges are laid, HPEPH works with the relevant enforcement agencies, such as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General to achieve compliance.

Since March 2020, ongoing enforcement activities have resulted in 47 COVID-19 related charges being laid under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) and the Reopening Ontario Act.

HPEPH does not release the names of businesses or individuals that have been charged unless they are convicted, and this information is then publicly reported yearly through the Board of Health.

COVID-10 related charges that have been issued since March 2020 include the following:

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act:
Five charges for failure to self-isolate – $880 per ticket
One obstruction charge, still before the courts

Under the Reopening Ontario Act:
Two charges for failure to check vaccine passports at a restaurant – $880 ticket
One charge for failure to wear eye protection while providing a service within two metres of an unmasked patron (restaurant location) – $1,130 ticket for a corporation
Two charges for failure to screen employees at a drug store – $1,130 per ticket for a corporation
Four charges for operating a non-essential business during lockdown/shutdown – $880 per ticket
Two charges for entering a closed recreational amenity – $880 per ticket
Three charges for failure to provide name, date of birth and address to an officer- $880 per ticket
27 charges for failure to implement general compliance measures (not distancing, not masking, no safety plan, no capacity limit sign, not screening staff, not screening patrons) – $1,130 ticket for a corporation (24 issued), $880 ticket for a sole proprietor (three issued)

Proof of Vaccination Warnings Issued

Since the provincial requirement to provide proof of vaccination in select settings came into effect on Sept. 22, HPEPH has responded to complaints from the public and has issued four warnings to restaurants and bars under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Businesses that do not comply with proof of vaccination requirements will be educated, warned and charged according to the above-mentioned progressive approach. Premises that continue to violate the COVID-19 regulations, including the proof of vaccination requirements, will be referred to ACGO and the Ministry of the Attorney General for further legal sanctions.

Resources for business owners and operators

Local business owners or operators who have questions about current regulations are invited to visit the HPEPH website.

Filed Under: Local News

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