Two Amazon facilities in Ontario’s Peel Region ordered to partially close due to COVID-19 cases

Peel Region has ordered the partial closure of two Amazon Fulfillment Centres due to five or more recent COVID-19 cases at the facilities.

On Friday, the Amazon Centre at 8050 Heritage Road in Brampton and the centre at 12724 Coleraine Drive in Bolton were ordered to shut down partially for at least 10 days.

A partial shutdown applies to a mass dismissal of a shift or work area, according to Peel Public Health’s website.

Just last month, Peel Public Health forced the same centre in Brampton to close for two weeks due to hundreds of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Peel updated its current list of workplace closures on Saturday after the new Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act came into effect on Friday.

Both Peel and Toronto’s top doctors announced on Tuesday that they would be implementing the orders to reduce coronavirus transmission in workplaces.

“The goal of this is really to get ahead of the variants, as we did with schools and automatic dismissals,” Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh told CP24 on Tuesday.

Peel has not yet confirmed how many employees are affected by the partial shutdown at both facilities.

Loh said the order will force workers to isolate at home and that employers should continue paying their workers while they are isolating.

Peel Public Health said the new order will not impact schools, hospitals, childcare facilities and other “critical infrastructure,” including electricity generation and distribution.

As of noon on Friday, 35.9 per cent of workplace outbreaks in Peel were in the manufacturing/industrial sector, followed by 12.7 per cent in retail.

Loh, and several other health officials, have repeatedly said congregate and workplace settings are hot spots for virus transmission in Peel, and more measures are needed by the government to curb spread, including paid sick days.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford said the government is planning to make the “best [paid sick leave] program anywhere in North America.”

Currently, sick workers can apply to receive payments through the Canada Recovery and Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

The federal program provides up to $500 per week but requires that people go without pay until their applications are approved.

Ford did not say when the government will make an announcement about paid sick leave.

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