Non-essential businesses remain open in York Region during what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
A much more moderate Black Friday weekend is expected in Toronto and Peel Region, with the two areas remaining under a 28-day lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In the province’s two COVID-19 hot spots, only essential retailers are allowed to remain open, but non-essential businesses can still offer curbside pickup and delivery and restaurants can also remain open for take-out and delivery. .
“This is not the open season here in York Region,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti warned, buyers coming from Toronto and Peel.
He said labor ministry inspectors, as well as regulators and police, will ensure companies follow all rules set by public health officials.
He said some businesses in the region had already been caught breaking the rules.
“Costco in Markham has been charged, as has T&T grocery store in Warden and Steeles, so we’ll be there,” he said Friday morning. “(I have) a clear message to retailers – you have more control over the number of people coming inside. ”
According to Scarpitti’s office, Costco operators in Markham received a citation for physical distance issues and a follow-up visit revealed they were now in compliance.
Ontario Labor Minister Monte McNaughton said Ministry of Labor inspectors have been running community safety blitzes since Thanksgiving and crews will be in York Region next weekend.
“We’ve created a team of 200 agents and inspectors from across government to really visit businesses in areas like Toronto, Peel and York… (and) tell businesses how they can really improve security measures in their businesses to keep workers safe and keep customers safe, ”McNaughton said.
“Eighty-five percent of businesses comply with the rule, so the majority of businesses have really grown. It’s really about the government helping businesses and making sure the proper protocols are in place.
He said that since March, Labor Ministry inspectors have conducted 28,000 COVID-19-related investigations and 26,000 orders have been issued.
“Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of thousands of companies out there, so like I said, most of them are doing a great job,” McNaughton added.
“There are always bad actors and will work to improve standards everywhere. ”
He said a total of 40 sites and workplaces had been closed since March, but noted that most of them were construction sites that were ordered to close at the start of the pandemic. He added that compliance has improved dramatically on construction sites since the spring.