Peterborough Public Health says it served a Section 22 order Thursday to the operator of Peterburgers, requiring them to either comply with Ontario’s COVID-19 safety requirements or close the restaurant.
Peterburgers has previously received three fines (each $880) on Oct. 8 under the Reopening Ontario Act for lack of compliance with the collection of patron contact information, requesting proof of vaccination and identification and wearing face coverings. The health unit said the fines were issued following written and verbal warnings about compliance with COVID-19 protocols the province put into effect on Sept. 22.
Ontario put a pause on lifting capacity limits on Nov. 10 in higher-risk settings such as food and drink establishments.
“I urge the operator to recognize that non-compliance is a serious matter, and risk for our community,” said Julie Ingram, the health unit’s manager of environmental health.
“Ultimately the operator needs to comply with this order.”Advertisements
The health unit says the Section 22 order was issued under the Health Promotion and Protection Act, which governs the prevention of the spread of disease and the promotion and protection of the health in the province.
“Food premises are considered higher-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission because face coverings cannot always be worn, and there is close contact among servers and diners,” stated Dr. Ian Gemmill, acting medical officer of health.
“That is why the Ontario government implemented community safety measures such as proof of vaccination checks, COVID-19 symptom screening and contact-tracing requirements. We had to serve this restaurant operator with a Section 22 order because she has been willfully defying provincial regulations, despite warnings and charges laid under the Reopening Ontario Act.”
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Gemmill noted that failure to comply or close the premises voluntarily will lead to an escalation of measures necessary to ensure that public health measures are being followed. This could include a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues, as well as the possibility of closure by the health unit.
A week ago Roy Asselstine, who owns the George Street North business with his wife Nicole, in a video stated he had received a “cease-and-desist order” from public health and called the letter “toilet paper.”
Last weekend, Asselstine was joined by supporters who slept overnight at the restaurant, amid expectations health officials were going to order the business closed. In videos circulating on Twitter and Facebook, Asselstine called on supporters to stay at his restaurant and later go “arm in arm” around the building.
Subsequent videos have shown supporters sleeping in the restaurant throughout this week as recently as Thursday morning.
“We’re asking for help now — the health unit has informed our landlord they’re coming to shut us down and change the locks,” Asselstine said on Thursday. “We’re expecting it tomorrow. Anyone that is available tomorrow or until the day they do it, we want to surround this building with people in support and make these people as uncomfortable as possible and let them know how we feel.”
He also requested that individuals “bombard” the health unit with emails with “legislation” and “proof” that it is against the law for business owners and employees to request proof of vaccination.
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