On April 20, 2021 Peel Public Health announced a new Order pursuant to section 22(5.0.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, RSO 1990, c H.7. The new Order replaces a class Order previously dated March 2, 2021. The workplace closure provisions will take effect on Friday April 23, 2021. While Toronto Public Health has also indicated they intend to introduce similar workplace closure Orders, also effective April 23, 2021, as of the time of writing this blog the Orders had not been posted to the City of Toronto website.
Measures for 2 or more COVID-19 Cases or Suspected Cases
The Order specifies that where there are two or more persons connected to a workplace identified as:
- diagnosed with COVID-19; or
- having the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and having been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting the results of their test; or
- otherwise having reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19; or
- being a close contact of a person identified in (a), (b) or (c);
The workplace must do the following:
- Immediately exclude any person identified in the criteria above, and instruct them to confine themselves to their home or isolation facility per the rules set out by Peel Public Health;
- Implement measures outlined in the applicable provincial
regulations including, but not limited to, the following:
- On-site screening of symptoms and exclusion of people with symptoms;
- Ensure people are not coming within 2 meters of each other;
- Provide people with appropriate protective equipment if distancing cannot be achieved;
- Ensure signage regarding the taking of COVID-19 safety measures available from Peel Public Health or other authorities is available throughout the workplace premises;
- Ensure non-essential visitors are not permitted on the workplace;
- Ensure availability of adequate hand hygiene supplies, appropriate cleaning and disinfection of workspaces;
- Immediately notify Peel Public Health if 2 or more cases are identified in connection with your workplace.
- Maintain logs, such as:
- List of close contacts;
- Log of persons who attended the workplace;
Measures for 5 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases
When a workplace has 5 or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14 calendar-day period where the cases could reasonably have acquired their infection in the workplace premises, or where no obvious source of infection has been identified outside the workplace premises, Peel Public Health will either:
- Issue a full workplace closure; or
- Issue a shift closure
The closure will be for a 10 calendar-day period.
Any business that is ordered to be closed can still operate remotely.
The following workplace premises are exempt from the full closure requirements of s. 5 (Workplace Closures) of the Order:
- Healthcare facilities, including vaccination clinics;
- First responder emergency services such as Fire, Paramedics, Police and their communication services;
- Critical infrastructure such as water/wastewater treatment facilities, utilities, telecommunications and IT, transportation, energy;
- Government services;
- Services required to maintain the health of animals;
- Other workplace premises exempted from closure by Peel Public Health.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.