SOUTH HURON – An inspection blitz of businesses throughout Huron and Perth counties has highlighted the dedication of South Huron’s business community to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.
The blitz, which was conducted in early February as part of a province-wide effort to gauge how businesses are complying with the Reopening Ontario Act, found that South Huron’s businesses were 97.3 per cent compliant with the act.
The findings of the blitz showed about 64 per cent of businesses inspected in Huron and Perth counties were in compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act, which placed South Huron well ahead of the average in the area.
A team of 15 provincial offences officers as well as Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) inspectors and Stratford police conducted the campaign throughout Huron and Perth counties, visiting nearly 150 big-box stores and essential businesses that were allowed to operate during the province-wide lockdown. As part of the campaign, 22 businesses were inspected in South Huron.
“Our business community makes the safety of their customers and staff their highest priority,” said Exeter BIA manager Laura Connolly through an emailed statement. “Everyone works together to ensure that as customers move through South Huron and Exeter, they can visit our shops and stores with confidence.”
Through the campaign, officers issued seven tickets and nine occupational health and safety orders, most of which were due to a business not having a safety plan. As part of provincial regulations, businesses operating through the lockdown were required to have a COVID-19 workplace safety plan which would be available to anyone who asked to see it, and be posted somewhere it could be easily found.
Other common contraventions included issues with capacity limits and the screening of patrons and employees.
“We are thankful that HPPH and the staff at the county of Huron and the municipality of South Huron have continually worked with us to develop the tools to be able to move ahead in a safe way,” said Connolly. “From signage for our workplaces and customer-facing shop windows to incredible comprehensive guidelines for creating a safety plan, all levels have worked together to pivot and do things as well as possible. I am incredibly proud to work with these amazing groups and for this incredible business community.”
Huron-Perth had 17 active cases of COVID-19 as of March 17 with two active cases in South Huron, bringing the municipality’s total case count since the pandemic began to 101 confirmed cases.