LONDON, ONT. -- London bylaw officers have issued two Provincial Offence Notices to a restaurant operator and an employee for not obeying the Mandatory Face Covering By-Law.

The $500 fines were laid Tuesday. The restaurant has not been identified.

Under the bylaw, everyone entering an indoor public space is required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.

“In this instance we did issue a previous warning,” said bylaw manager Orest Katolyk. “We reinspected yesterday. Employees were not wearing masks. Fines were issued.”

“We remain focused on education, but part of that education also includes enforcement as necessary,” said Mayor Ed Holder in a news release.

“The vast majority of Londoners, and London businesses have set an extremely high standard when it comes to respecting public health guidelines, and we have every intention of maintaining that standard going forward. While not our preference, we will not hesitate to issue fines and charges to those who refuse to adjust their behaviours thereby placing at risk the health and wellbeing of others.”

“It’s unfortunate that it was in the downtown,” Covent Garden Market manager Bob Usher. “Let’s be honest about it. We have the largest concentration in the downtown of restaurants and people at times. And I don’t think there’s anybody out in the public who are working for a business that has to have masks that hasn’t been aware that that’s the law.”

Katolyk said so far inspectors have visited more than 2,100 businesses and issued more than 100 warnings. He said it’s left to the discretion of each inspector whether to issue warnings or levy a fine.

“We’re working seven days a week. This is a serious matter and we are taking it seriously.”

The bylaw came into effect on July 21.