WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor by-law enforcement officers will be conducting proactive blitz enforcement related to COVID-19 pandemic regulations at area businesses and facilities.

It is expected to start on Monday, Nov. 23, and continue for the foreseeable future.

Officers will be looking to ensure COVID-19 safety plans are prepared and posted in a conspicuous place for patrons to take note. By-law officers will also be watching for physical distancing, mask usage and gathering numbers in public spaces.

“We’re moving from a position of potential education to one of definite enforcement,” said manager of by-law enforcement Bill Tetler. “We’re going to ensure businesses are helping lead the way in fighting the spread of COVID-19.”

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said Friday five businesses have been charged – one convenience store, two food markets and two restaurants and bars.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, businesses must prepare and make available a safety plan describing the measures and procedures that have been or will be implemented to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19.

Officers will be laying fines under the act when non-compliance is found, and fines can range from $750 to as high as $10 million for a non-compliant corporation.

On Thursday, area mayors, including Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, called for a zero tolerance approach and stepped up enforcement for those not following COVID-19 regulations.