How and When Peel Public Health will Close Down your Workplace
May 19, 2021
When will Peel Public Health instruct workplaces to close?
What penalties could you face if you do not comply?
As discussed in Brian Gottheil’s blog post, Peel Public Health will notify and instruct workplaces to close for 10 days if they have five or more COVID-19 cases in a two-week period.
And YES, Peel Public Health will publish the names of businesses during that instructed 10-day closure.
Under the new public health order, if instructed to close, employers must:
- Close their premises either fully or partially for 10 calendar days
- Instruct all affected employees to self-isolate, and
- Post a notice of the closure at the entrance of the workplace
It’s important to note that the Order only applies during time periods where Peel Region is in the Grey – Lockdown zone or where the Province of Ontario has enacted a Shutdown.
Exemptions from the closures can be found within the Order.
If a workplace is instructed to close, the newly passed worker income protection benefit is designed to provide some economic support to those affected. I highly recommend you look at Robert Richler’s blog post about the newly enacted three day paid sick leave for COVID-19 related causes.
Based on the nature of the workplace outbreak and organization of the workplace itself, Peel Public Health will determine whether a full or partial closure is appropriate.
If an outbreak of five or more COVID-19 cases occurs in workplace that is split into separate sections, shifts, or cohorts, and the outbreak is contained within one of those separate groupings, a partial closure may be imposed. An example of this is a workplace where there is a clear separation between a front office and a warehouse operation. Peel Public Health may require only the operation with the outbreak to be closed.
However, where the outbreak is more widespread in the workplace or where there are no clear separations between groupings, Peel Public Health would likely instruct the employer to close the entire workplace for the 10-day period.
Affected employees must then self-isolate until the 10-day closure expires.
Workers at a closed workplace cannot work in another workplace during their isolation period. They must self-isolate for the 10-day closure or as long as the workplace closure lasts. All affected workers should get tested, whether or not they show symptoms.
Testing is not required to re-open the workplace premises or for a worker to return to work if they are asymptomatic.
Peel Public Health’s mandate is to work with employers to ensure that there is a smooth transition in and out of the imposed closure – of course with the ultimate goal of keeping workers safe and informed.
Businesses that are instructed to close, may still operate remotely during the 10-day period and are not forced to cease operations entirely. Workers may also work remotely during a closure, if possible to do so.
You could face some hefty fines if you breach the Order!
Individuals could face a fine up to $5,000.00 and corporations could face a fine up to $25,000.00 for every day if non-compliant.
Do not forget your obligations! If two or more cases of COVID-19 are identified in connection with your workplace premises within a 14-day interval, immediately notify Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700, or for Caledon 905-584-2216.
On-site rapid testing may be coming to workplaces across Peel Region!
While on-site rapid testing is used in some workplaces such as long-term care homes, Peel Public Health is planning to implement on-site rapid testing in all other work sectors through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program.
Employers who are interested can register with Peel Public Health and would be responsible to set up, operate and fund the on-site clinics.
Under the Antigen Screening Program, if an employee tests positive during rapid testing:
- They are required to self-isolate
- They have a follow up standard test, and
- The workplace must report the preliminary positive results to Peel Public Health
Peel Public Health will be providing more information in the coming weeks.