York Region says businesses who fail to comply with rules aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 could face fines of $5,000 a day.

On Sunday evening, Dr. Karim Kurji, the region’s medical officer of health, said he has issued a class order, requiring businesses such as meeting and event spaces, malls, and retail stores to set capacity limits and ensure physical distancing is strictly observed.

The order issued under Section 22 of the Province of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23.

Kurji said the order “is the next step in a series of enhanced measures put in place by York Region to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The area is under the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 framework for restrictions.

The order was announced a few hours before Toronto and Peel Region enter the lockdown zone.

There are concerns that residents in those two COVID-19 hot spots will visit businesses in York Region. On Friday, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti urged people in Toronto and Peel not to travel to their area.

“The lockdown is there for a reason. The red zone is here for a reason. We have to curtail the number of cases. That should be everyone’s priority. I don’t care what city, what neighbourhood, what town you are from,” Scarpitti said.

York Region’s top officials wrote a letter to the premier on Thursday, a day before the announcement of the lockdown measures, pleading that the area remained in the red zone.

Regional officials said they are confident that the restrictions in the control category are enough to control the spread of COVID-19, expecting the number of new cases to decline in the coming days.

Officials also committed to additional enforcement in areas where gathering limits are not being followed.

In his order, meeting and event spaces, banquet halls, conference rooms, and convention centres are required to put a cap of 50 people per event.

Shopping malls and retail stores must ensure that physical distancing is also observed in common areas, washrooms, hallways, and entrances, as well as in lineups.

Kurji said those who do not follow the order will face a fine of $5,000 for a person or $25,000 for a corporation per day.

On Sunday, York Region reported 130 new cases of COVID-19.

- with files from CP24 staff