At least six York Region businesses were charged and fined Friday after a special Black Friday “blitz” by the region’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force.
Growing complaints about overcrowded and rule-breaking stores and fears that locked-down residents of Toronto and Peel are crossing the border into the still-open facilities in York have prompted York Region Council to step up the l application at the start of the busy shopping season.
On November 27, task force members visited 439 businesses and at 3 p.m. eight charges were laid against residents and businesses.
The accused under the Ontario Reopening Act and section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act are Xclusive Fades (a hair salon in Aurora), Designer Depot (a clothing in Vaughan Mills) Cellicon (a cell phone repair and accessories shop in Vaughan Mills) and Haight and Ashbury (a clothing store in Vaughan Mills).
Chef 88 Elite Fine Dining in Markham has been accused of breaking physical distance rules on a patio.
The five companies were fined $ 750 plus an additional $ 880.
Dylon Hart, property manager for Vaughan Mills, said the mall is working closely with York Region Public Health to ensure safety precautions are followed.
The mall is operating at 15 to 20 percent of its normal capacity.
“We are doing our best and health and safety is our top priority,” he said. “There are long lines, but the interior of the mall is comfortable and safe. “
In addition to laying charges, the task force conducted 686 “compliance education activities”: 193 for distancing, 201 for face masks, 97 for trade regulations and 195 for collection of limits.
York Region spokesperson Patrick Casey said the region plans to continue the blitz throughout the weekend, visiting malls, big box and retail stores, restaurants , food establishments, fitness centers and other places to ensure that public health measures are followed.
Those who fail to keep their customers and employees safe by not following mandatory COVID-19 security measures will be subject to fines and repeat offenders could be temporarily closed.
Over the weekend, the area laid charges against 19 stores, fitness centers and restaurants, including Costco and LA Fitness in Vaughan, Wynn Fitness and McDonald’s in Richmond Hill, T&T Supermarket and Costco in Markham.
Avani Event Center, the Jane Street banquet hall in Concord linked to a major COVID-19 outbreak last month, was charged on October 18.
At least 49 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after a large wedding at the scene on October 14 and 18.
A full list of charges and closures in York Region is available at york.ca/COVID19
To stay safe from the coronavirus, York Region Public Health recommends shopping online from a local business or arranging curbside pickup rather than visiting stores during the holidays.
If you must go to a store, wear a mask, visit during off-peak hours, plan ahead to limit time in stores, and follow directional arrows and store signs and other rules set by the store for safety .