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Oshawa Tim Hortons shuts down in-person dining due to safety concerns for staff

If you’re grabbing a coffee or doughnut at 415 Simcoe St. South Tim Hortons location in Oshawa, Ont., you’ll be greeted with a sign that says customers can order, but they can’t stay.

Last week, the owner of this Tim Hortons had no choice but to close in-store dining at this location due safety concerns for his staff and patrons. Ward 5 Coun. John Gray said he fully supports the owner’s decision and said the situation inside the location has been a mounting problem.

“The owner has experienced some trouble with the homeless, staying in the dining room for the entire day,” said Gray.

“They mess up the washrooms. Blood, drug paraphernalia, you name it, it’s there.”

Gray said with many mental health and housing resources located on Simcoe Street in downtown Oshawa, it has become a congregating location.

“You know, if somebody has some fentanyl and maybe there’s some of the residue, the dust on the table. Well, that’s a health hazard for his employees when they go to wipe of the table,” said Gray. He adds that employees at this location have Narcan to prevent the loss of life to staff members.

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Earlier this month, police were called to the location after a man had reportedly held a taser towards customers in a threatening manner.

Global News reached out to Tim Hortons for comment, but they have not yet responded.

But this isn’t the first time a Tim Hortons has had to close in-store dining due to these concerns. “There was a Tim Hortons right across from City Hall on Athol Street,” said Gray. “Guess what? It closed too. And it remains closed to this day.”

This problem is larger than coffee and doughnut, it’s about the lack of mental health and addiction resources seen across the province. Rina Short, with CMHA Durham tells Global News that additional resources are needed to tackle the crisis.

“There’s challenges with human resources that we saw post- pandemic as well, so there’s a definite strain for having the resources that we can support individuals with mental health and addictions”

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences said they also believe there is a continued need for more resources, adding that they currently have over 3000 people on their waitlist for services.

According to the Ministry of Health, since 2019, $52 million has been put towards addiction treatments and services. In a statement to Global News, the ministry said additionally, they are responding to the pandemic’s impact on substance use.

“Our government is implementing the Addictions Recovery Fund, a one-time investment of over $90 million over three years to boost capacity in addictions services, adding 500 new addiction treatment beds,” the statement read.

For the south end of Oshawa, Gray said he believes hope is on the way with new additions coming to the city, bringing a new beginning to the city’s downtown area.

In November, Metrolinx said they applied to expropriate the location as part of the extension of the GO Train from Durham College Station in Oshawa to Bowmanville.

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