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Walmarts, Shoppers, Costco among York Region stores violating COVID-19 rules

Businesses in Markham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Georgina charged
Jan. 21, 2021
Kim Zarzour

More big-box stores in York Region -- including several Shoppers Drug Marts, Walmarts and large grocery chains -- are facing fines for not following COVID-19 rules.

The Region of York released names of 34 businesses facing fines after this past week’s enforcement efforts, with 45 charges -- reflecting fines of $880 each -- related to not sanitizing, masking or distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Five Shoppers Drug Marts in Markham face fines for failing to clean self-checkouts after use, including locations at 298 John St., 2920 Major Mackenzie Dr., 8601 Warden Ave., 5000 Hwy. 7 E. and 6579 Hwy. 7 E.

Under provincial COVID-19 safety rules, store staff are required to wipe down and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as keypads and self-checkout areas before the next customer uses the checkout.

Five Walmarts in York Region were also charged.

Two of the Walmarts are located in Richmond Hill:

Two Walmarts in Vaughan were also charged:

The Walmart on Copper Creek Drive in Markham was charged for lack of cleaning and disinfecting.

Five additional grocery and big-box stores were charged in Richmond Hill including Costco, on John Birchall Road, where the manager faces charges pertaining to distancing at check-out lanes.

Sobeys, at 11700 Yonge St., Richmond Hill, was fined for not posting a maximum capacity sign.

T & T Supermarket, at 9625 Yonge St., Richmond Hill was fined for not having proper capacity control measures and overcrowding.

FreshCo, on Major Mackenzie Drive East in Richmond Hill, was fined for lack of distancing

At No Frills, at 9350 Yonge St., Richmond Hill, an employee was fined for not wearing a face mask

In Markham, five grocery stores were fined, including two Food Basics -- on Castlemore Avenue (for lack of cleaning and disinfecting), and on John Street (for not cleaning self-checkout after use).

No Frills on Markham Road was fined for two offences: lack of cleaning and disinfecting and self-checkouts not being sanitized after use.

Garden Basket in Markham was fined for not having a safety plan or maximum capacity sign.

Lucky Foodmart on Kennedy Road in Markham was fined for not sanitizing shopping carts after use.

In Thornhill, inspectors found Seasons Food Mart, 7181 Yonge St., without a maximum occupancy sign and not controlling customers entering the business.

Aurora’s Centra Food Mart, on Orchard Heights Boulevard, was charged with lack of distancing and not monitoring capacity.

Also in Aurora, CrepeStar Cafe and Bistro on Yonge Street was fined for violating indoor dining restrictions.

Le Cue Pool and Lounge on Woodbine Avenue in Markham was fined for staff not wearing masks and having 10 customers inside.

Two businesses in Sutton were charged with failing to comply with the rules: Ben’s Pharmacy on Dalton Road and Sutton Smoke and Convenience Dollar Plus.

For a full list of charges and closures, visit

During the week of Jan. 11 to 17, the region’s enforcement task force conducted 1,928 inspections and 653 education visits. That is an increase over the 1,775 inspections -- which resulted in 27 charges -- during the week of Jan. 4 to Jan. 10.

Patrick Casey, the region’s director of corporate communications, said officers from the COVID-19 task force will continue to visit essential businesses and other locations to ensure public health measures under the provincewide shutdown are being met.

Businesses failing to keep their customers and employees safe are subject to fines and repeat offenders could face temporary closure, he said.

The Ontario government also announced Jan. 20 it will step up its inspections of workplaces and big-box stores to ensure they are complying with COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

More than 300 officers will support these "blitzes", visiting workplaces that are allowed to open during the provincial shutdowns including retailers, restaurants providing takeout, essential services such as gas stations, and farming operations.

Over the past weekend, a team of about 50 ministry inspectors accompanies local bylaw and police officer to visit 240 big-box stores across the GTA, and found 76 contraventions.

The inspections found 69 per cent of these businesses were in compliance with public health requirements.