Hamilton

Fake coronavirus doctor's note from worker closed Hamilton McDonald's: police

An 18-year-old Hamilton woman faces four charges for pretending to have the novel coronavirus to skip work.

'She just didn't want to go to work," police say

The McDonald's location on Rymal Road closed after an employee faked having the coronavirus, police say. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

An 18-year-old Hamilton woman is facing four charges after police say she faked having coronavirus to get out of work.

"She just didn't want to go to work," Hamilton police Const. Lorraine Edwards said.

"[With] the magnitude of what's happening in the world today, COVID-19 and the seriousness of what we're all having to deal with ... this particular incident definitely needed to have police attention."

On March 21, CBC News reported that an employee at the McDonald's location at 20 Rymal Road East tested positive for the novel coronavirus, based on an email statement from a company spokesperson.

As management began working with Public Health Ontario to confirm the case, Hamilton Public Health Services learned of the incident through CBC News.

On March 23, police say it received information from officials about the employee, who handed in the forged medical information four days earlier.

The employee had previously worked on March 15, prompting the franchise to ask customers who were in that day to approach Public Health Ontario if they had any questions.

After receiving the note, the McDonald's restaurant closed, sent all employees home to self-isolate and had professional cleaning services sanitize the store.

"We take these allegations seriously," wrote Ryma Boussoufa, a McDonald's communications manager, in a statement to CBC.

"We maintain that closing the restaurant was the right thing to do to protect the health and well-being of our people, our guests, and our community," she added, noting the restaurant chain fully cooperated with police once "when the fraud was confirmed."

The store has since re-opened. The 18-year-old woman faces four charges:

  • Mischief over $5000.
  • Fraud under $5000.
  • Use a forged document.
  • Making a forged document.

She is set to appear in court on May 18.

"It affected employees, customers that came in and out ... and again, just the financial cost to have the store sanitized," Edwards said.

"It's unfortunate we have a young girl that's made a poor decision... and it's led to criminal charges."

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