Coronavirus: Ontario sending inspectors to check on reopening small businesses

Click to play video: 'Durham region business owners enter red zone with cautious optimism' Durham region business owners enter red zone with cautious optimism
WATCH ABOVE: After being locked down for nearly two months -- business owners are relieved to be opening their doors. But they worry about what could happen if a variant of concern shuts them down again. Frazer Snowdon reports – Feb 16, 2021

TORONTO — Ontario is sending inspectors to visit small businesses reopening this month in an effort to boost compliance with pandemic orders.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says initial visits will focus on education about safety rules and inspectors will take a “firmer approach” on followup visits.

He says small businesses have felt the brunt of the pandemic but many don’t have the resources to quickly adapt to new safety protocols.

Read more: Ontario to announce decision on COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for hot spots

Business types included in the initiative that begins next week include retail stores, gyms and personal services in regions reopening in grey, red and orange zones under the provincial restrictions framework.

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Inspectors will focus on businesses in Wellington-Dufferin Guelph, Durham and eastern Ontario, where have businesses reopened this week with varying levels of restrictions.

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Read more: City of Toronto to open 9 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to administer shots

The ministry says a webinar and an information hotline will also be available as business owners adapt to new rules.

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