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Coronavirus: More Hamilton businesses charged for violating COVID-19 regulations

Global News

Six Hamilton-area businesses are facing 12 charges for failing to follow COVID-19 safety rules, according to the city’s municipal bylaw office.

Among them are two well-known franchises, The Beer Store on Mohawk Road East and a Tim Horton’s location on South Service road in Stoney Creek.

The Tim’s location faces three charges for exceeding the indoor capacity limit, failing to ensure face coverings were worn and failing to enforce physical distancing within’ the store.

Read more: Hamilton to begin ‘naming and shaming’ businesses that break COVID-19 rules

The Beer Store is facing a single charge for failure to conduct required screenings for staff, according to the city.

A spokesperson for Tim Hortons told Global News in a statement that the owner of the Stoney Creek location is looking into the matter and that the restaurant was closed to the public when the events occurred.

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“In accordance with local COVID-19 regulations and by-laws and Tim Hortons policies, team members are required to wear masks and to follow all other relevant safety protocols when inside the restaurant,” the statement said.

The Beer Store has not yet responded to a Global News request for comment.

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A grocery store on the Mountain, a liquidator in Central Hamilton and a bakery in Stoney Creek are all facing multiple charges tied to not posting a safety plan inside their stores.

A pizza takeout restaurant on the Mountain is facing a single charge for an employee failing to wear a face covering.

Fines under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) range from $200 to $1,000.

Read more: Coronavirus — Hamilton bylaw stays busy enforcing COVID-19 rules

To date, Hamilton has issued over 400 charges connected to both acts.

The city began publicly releasing the names of businesses breaking coronavirus-related rules in mid-November after being spurred on by a Stoney Creek restaurant that broke those rules a number of times and was fined $3,000.

The director of Hamilton’s emergency operations centre (EOC) Paul Johnson told Global News he believes some of the businesses fined in recent weeks have simply let their guard down.

“I get that, but that’s why it’s a daily conversation that needs to be happening in these workplaces,” Johnson said.

The EOC director says he’s disappointed that the list has been growing week to week, and is not sure what effect the initiative is having, but expects surveillance to continue in the near future.

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“We are not going in (to businesses) looking and trying to play a gotcha moment,” said Johnson.

“The time for gentle chastisement has long passed in this community when you look at the numbers of people that are getting infected by COVID-19.”