WINDSOR, ONT. -- Provincial health and safety inspectors visited 97 businesses in Windsor-Essex Saturday as part of a COVID-19 compliance campaign with a focus on restaurants, retail and personal care services.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the businesses were visited based on recommendations from the local health unit. Of those checked, 70 per cent were small businesses with 25 employees or fewer.

Five tickets were issued along with 13 occupational health and safety orders as well as 31 formal warnings during their Windsor-Essex visit. Officers will be conducting follow-up visits to certain businesses found breaching public health rules.

Officers found 56 per cent of businesses were in compliance with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act.

The Windsor-Essex blitz was part of the province’s COVID-19 safety campaign focused on small businesses and those closed to the public during lockdown. As such, most visits focused on education and compliance assistance to those businesses that were reopening after a long closure.

Provincial officers held two other COVID-19 enforcement campaigns in Windsor-Essex in December and January.

Officers enforce the public health requirements in regards to screening requirements of workers and essential visitors, wearing of masks and PPE when required, and workplace safety plans for businesses.

“Results to date have demonstrated that the majority of businesses are doing the right things and those that need help can be coached into compliance without penalties,” a news release from the ministry said.

The ministry says three of the most common offences during the most recent local campaign were that businesses were not “actively screening everyone who works on-site before they entered,” were not adhering to capacity limits and did not have a safety plan.