Starting Friday, April 23, Peel Public Health is implementing new measures for businesses with the aim of protecting the region's essential workers.

The new measures will mandate workplaces in Peel that report five or more cases of COVID-19 (which could have been "reasonably acquired" in the workplace) in a two-week period to close for the duration of 10 days.

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All employees of businesses ordered to close will be asked to self-isolate for the time period and will not be permitted to work in any other businesses. 

Some critical businesses will be exempt from closures, including health care, first responders, critical infrastructure, emergency childcare, and more — the complete list is still being developed. 

This measure is being put in place "in the absence of legislated paid sick days" said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel's medical officer of health.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a physician on Ontario's vaccine task force, agreed that it "will really help" curb COVID-19 transmission in workplaces.

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As part of the enhanced stay-at-home measures that Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday, all non-essential construction is suspended and capacity has been reduced to 25% at stores that are permitted to remain open.

The province has also been ramping up its workplace inspection efforts, with targeted campaigns for businesses in hot-spot areas. 

An enforcement blitz last weekend sent 200 officers to over 500 essential workplaces in Peel, Toronto and Ottawa, including big-box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses.

However, several Ontario doctors are saying that what workplaces really need is paid sick leave, a sentiment echoed by Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa on Monday.