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Workplace inspection blitz starts tomorrow for Orillia and area

Inspectors will be visiting big-box stores, grocery stores, service stations, hotels, and warehousing and manufacturing businesses

Provincial inspectors could be in Collingwood tomorrow and or this weekend as part of a workplace inspection blitz in the region running Feb. 5-8. 

The inspectors are coming to ensure businesses are following public health guidelines related to COVID-19 prevention and protection. 

According to a news release from the Ontario government, the inspectors will be visiting big-box stores, grocery stores, service stations, hotels, and warehousing and manufacturing businesses. 

"They will be expected to be complying with the COVID-19 safety requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act," states the news release.

The local inspections are part of an Ontario-wide campaign to check for compliance. So far, inspectors have issued 112 tickets to businesses and individuals. 

Last weekend, inspectors were in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara, and Durham Region where they issued 98 tickets and noted about 41 per cent of businesses had at least one issue of non-compliance. A total of 107 provincial offences officers visited nearly 700 workplaces for last weekend's campaign.

According to the province, the most common areas of non-compliance include failure to properly screen staff and patrons, improper social distancing, and workplaces not having adequate COVID-19 workplace safety plans. 

A safety plan, similar to other documents required by Ontario's health and safety laws, is required for any business operating during the lockdown. The province requires the plan to be available by request and posted in a place where it can easily be seen. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has fined two Collingwood businesses for non-compliance under the Reopening Ontario Act. The specific infractions were not specified, but could include failure to provide an impermeable barrier as required, not ensuring proper two-metre physical distancing between all staff and patrons, and not providing a COVID-19 safety plan. 

The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development said the campaign beginning tomorrow and running to Feb. 8 will cover the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit territory, including Orillia, Barrie, Bracebridge, Collingwood and Huntsville.