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Woman charged after non-essential business opened during COVID-19 pandemic: Guelph police

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Guelph police say they will be charging a woman after a local business allegedly opened on Thursday despite being ordered to close by the Ontario government as a non-essential service amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Const. Kyle Grant says an officer spotted a man leaving a business in the area of Woodlawn Road and Woolwich Street on Thursday morning.

READ MORE: All non-essential workplaces ordered to close in Ontario

“A traffic stop was initiated with the male as he drove away, and he confirmed that the business was, in fact, open and providing service,” he said.

Grant wouldn’t say what type of business it was but confirmed that it was considered to be non-essential.

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The officer then made his way to the business, but it was locked and there was no answer at the door, Grant said.

According to Grant, a 48-year-old woman will be charged with failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency, and she will have to make a court appearance in July.

READ MORE: Coronavirus tracker: how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

“We are looking for businesses that are operating in contravention of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” he said. “I think it’s all our responsibilities to, as they say, flatten the curve.”

Police are recommending that residents contact the non-emergency line to report concerns about non-essential businesses being open or others who are not practising physical distancing.

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“It’s going to be a case-by-case basis for when this act will be utilized. This is an act that is currently in law that the Guelph Police Service can and will enforce when deemed appropriate,” Grant said.

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READ MORE: Guelph mayor declares state of emergency in response to COVID-19 pandemic

All non-essential workplaces in Ontario were ordered to close on Wednesday for at least 14 days amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A list of essential businesses can be found here.