In the past week, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) conducted an inspection blitz of businesses across the region for compliance with COVID-19 orders.
Corporations can be fined $1,000 for failing to comply with the orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Of 170 inspections by the health unit, 16 per cent were conducted in Muskoka. A total of 14 fines were levied across Simcoe Muskoka, including five in Muskoka.
The health unit blitz was part of a larger effort conducted Feb. 5-8 that included the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development, bylaw officers, and police. Details on enforcement activities by those other entities were not yet available as of publication time.
In the Huntsville area, Farmer’s Daughter in Huntsville, and Jamieson’s General Store and Mary’s Lakeside Grill in Port Sydney each received a $1,000 fine from the health unit during the blitz. The specifics of each fine have not been disclosed by the health unit, but Dr. Charles Garder, SMDHU medical officer of health, said the most common infractions in Simcoe Muskoka were “a lack of a safety plan, a lack of screening of their employees, a lack of signage indicating capacity limits, and failings with regards to cleaning and disinfection.”
Dr. Gardner added that the “law is there to protect the workers, the owners, the patrons, and the community against COVID-19… Overall, I feel confident that my staff are striving to be fair but to apply the law.”
The other health unit fines in Muskoka were levied against Nick’s Family Restaurant in Bracebridge ($1,000) and Terry’s Independent Grocer in Gravenhurst ($750).
Doppler reached out to some of the businesses involved to request comment. See the response from Farmer’s Daughter here: Local business owner calls COVID compliance fine unjust.
Update Feb. 9: This post has been updated to include a link to the response from Farmer’s Daughter.
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