Toronto

Toronto Public Health orders full closure of 4 workplaces, partial closure of 7 to curb COVID-19

Toronto Public Health has told four workplaces to close completely and seven others to close partially to control COVID-19 outbreaks at those businesses.

Some had already closed, others closed on Monday, closures intended to reduce spread

Toronto Public Health has told four workplaces to close completely and seven others to close partially to control COVID-19 outbreaks at those businesses. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Public Health has told four workplaces to close completely and seven others to close partially to control COVID-19 outbreaks at those businesses.

The closures, which come under Section 22 of Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act, will be temporary and will allow public health officials to investigate the outbreaks.

On Monday evening, TPH released a list of names of the companies that have received written instructions to close fully and partially. TPH said originally it would close eight businesses partially, but said later it decided after it investigated that a partial closure was no longer needed at the eighth workplace to lower the risk of transmission among employees.

Some of the workplaces have already closed their doors, according to the list.

The four required to shut down fully are:

  • Classic Fire Protection Inc., 645 Garyray Dr., closed on April 21.
  • High Park Nissan, 3275 Dundas St W., closed on Monday.
  • McDonalds-P.G Miller Enterprises Ltd., 6170 Bathurst St., closed on Monday.
  • Meat & Co. Boutique Inc., 145 Bethridge Rd., closed on Monday.

The seven workplaces required to shut down partially are:

  • Heroux Devtek Magtron, 1480 Birchmount Rd., closed April 20.
  • Reliance Construction Toronto, 85 and 95 McMahon Dr., closed April 22.
  • Rex Pak Limited, 85 Thornmount Dr., closed April 23.
  • Deciem Inc., 123 Eastside Dr. Unit 6., closed on Monday.
  • Scepter Canada Inc., 170 Midwest Rd., closed on Monday.
  • The Butcher Shoppe, 121 Shorncliffe Rd., closed on Monday.
  • Trend Line Furniture Limited, 166 Norfinch Dr., closed on Monday.

All of the businesses are required to post signs on their doors at all entrances to notify the public. TPH said it would provide an update on the closures every Thursday at 3 p.m. on its COVID-19 dashboard.

"Further instructions on employee isolation, quarantine and testing of employees have been communicated directly with the workplace," the city said in a news release on Monday.

"The majority of the workplaces where this order would apply will not often or usually be places where the general public goes. As in the past, TPH will continue to communicate publicly if there is risk of exposure to the general public."

Toronto's full and partial closures come after Peel Public Health closed two Amazon distribution centres on Saturday in Brampton and Bolton under the same legislative order to control workplace outbreaks there.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, says: 'The point here is to try to provide the most focused application of public health tools in order to address the risk that is seen in that workplace.' (CBC)

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, issued what is called a Section 22 class order that took effect on Friday to curb the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. The move is intended not only to protect employees and their families, but also the wider community, she said.

As soon as owners and operators of businesses become aware of five or more cases within the span of two weeks, they are required to notify TPH. The order may also apply to workplaces with fewer than five COVID-19 cases.

"Upon investigation, TPH will determine appropriate actions to protect employees and the community, whether it is a full or partial closure of the workplace," the city said. 

Medical officer says closures intended to reduce risk

At a city news briefing on Monday, de Villa said she is aware these orders come with a cost but said they provide benefits in the form of reducing exposures, outbreaks, illness and virus spread. She said she hopes they provide some reassurance as well because they are designed to reduce risk in a careful way.

"The purpose of the new order is to separate people who may be infecting each other throughout duration of the work day and then taking those infections home, which under the stay-at-home order is where most people should be spending the majority of their time these days when they can," de Villa said.

De Villa told reporters that public health investigators are working with workplaces to determine what exactly is happening and where outbreaks are occurring. If transmission is happening on a particular shift or area, then action is required there. But if broader transmission is occurring, and the physical layout means the whole workplace is affected, then a full closure is more appropriate, she said.

"The point here is to try to provide the most focused application of public health tools in order to address the risk that is seen in that workplace," de Villa said.

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