Peel Region ups the anti for COVID-19 violators


Businesses in a prominent Ontario COVID-19 hot spot may face steep fines in the weeks ahead if they ignore rules meant to keep the virus from spreading further afield, the region's top doctor announced Saturday as the province posted yet another single-day record for new cases.

 Dr. Lawrence Loh, chief medical officer of health for Peel Region, said businesses could be fined up to $5,000 a day for flouting public health protocols, warning that workplace outbreaks are driving case counts higher.

Loh issued the new public health order to create the fine system as Peel reported 497 new cases of the virus, accounting for more than a quarter of the 1,581 cases recorded provincewide in the past 24 hours.

``Spread of COVID-19 in workplaces continues to drive rising case counts in Peel,'' Loh said in a statement. 

``While most workplaces take great care to protect their employees, some employers continue to disregard the safety of their people and as a result, the Peel community.''

Peel Region said Saturday it has had 116 workplace outbreaks from Sept. 1 to Nov. 13. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the region said it has investigated more than 1,500 potential COVID-19 exposures in workplaces.

Nearly 60 per cent of the outbreaks have taken place in the manufacturing, food processing, distribution, and transportation sectors.