Peel Public Health has ordered Amazon Canada to shut down its Brampton facility and have workers self-isolate for 14 days starting at 12:01am ET on March 13th.
Globe and Mail politics reporter Laura Stone detailed the closure on Twitter, noting that the move came via Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Additionally, Stone shared a statement from Peel region medical officer Dr. Lawrence Loh:
“This Amazon facility is in a vulnerable community and employs thousands of people. Immediate action must be taken to protect these essential workers and the community where they live. This was a difficult decision but a necessary one to stop further spread both in the facility and across our community. Essential workers remain the backbone of our community and I continue to urge both employers and policy makers to provide paid sick leave to anyone impacted by COVID-19.”
Loh also noted that “variants of concern” were detected at the facility over the last week.
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) March 12, 2021
In a statement, Peel Public Health noted that all workers must self-isolate until March 27th.
“The current public health investigation has determined that high-risk exposure to COVID-19 for everyone working at Amazon Heritage cannot be ruled out,” the statement said. Peel Public Health also noted that while COVID-19 infection rates decreased across Peel, rates inside the Amazon facility were increasing significantly.
CP24 notes that the City of Brampton shut down a Brampton Transit bus route serving the Amazon facility earlier this week due to COVID-19 cases, which involved nine bus operators. Amazon used chartered buses to transport workers to the facility instead.
However, Loh said there was no link between Amazon and the Brampton Transit outbreaks.
The Amazon facility shutdown comes as Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to fight against a provincial paid sick leave program. Brampton is a suburb of Toronto.
In other Amazon news, the e-commerce giant has revealed it will not build a massive warehouse on the protected Duffins Creek wetlands in Pickering, Ontario.