Toronto and Peel Region will be issuing an updated Section 22 Order on workplaces (Class Order for Workplaces with COVID-19) that will direct all businesses with five or more cases of COVID-19 acquired through infection at work to close for 10 calendar days.
All affected employees must self-isolate. Employees who are isolating are not permitted to work in any other workplace. This further restricts spread should they have been exposed in their workplace, officials of both public health units said.
“Workplaces that remain open continue to be a major driver of COVID-19 cases in Peel, as they have been throughout the course of our emergency response. With variant spread we are also seeing transmission occur more quickly and widely, said Dr. Lawrence Loh. “At this critical juncture in our pandemic response, the updated provisions in this Section 22 Order are necessary to quickly stop variant transmission in workplaces, support rapid workplace investigations, and protect our essential workers and our community.”
Peel’s top doctor is calling on employers to make this a paid time off.
“In the absence of legislated paid sick days, we also call on all employers impacted by expedited closure to provide paid leave for all employees impacted by COVID-19 or these new safety measures, and to consider moving as many operations as possible virtually to reduce risk,” he said.
The names of all affected businesses will be published on the Peel web site while they are closed. This list will not be published until the first businesses affected are notified this week. The updated provisions of the Section 22 Order will be in effect whenever Peel Region is in the Shutdown or Grey-Lockdown zones of the provincial framework, spokesperson Ashleigh Hawkins said in a news release.
Toronto Public Health was one of the first health units in Canada to publish workplace outbreak information and will continue to do so on Toronto COVID-19 website, the City said. Information to support workplaces to prevent and manage COVID-19 can be found on the City of Toronto’s website: http://www.toronto.ca.
“Workplaces that are open provide an opportunity for COVID-19 to spread, said Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa. “Given that the majority of our cases are now as a result of variants of concern, which transmit faster, this order will support Toronto Public Health’s investigators to help workplaces immediately reduce the risk of spread and manage workplace outbreaks quickly.”