TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he has asked his public experts to create a plan that would ease restrictions and allow businesses to start reopening in the four COVID-19 hot spots.

Ford made the comments on Friday during a press conference in Toronto, while also announcing funding to build two new schools in Etobicoke.

"Based off what I’m seeing in the modelling, I have asked our public health experts to come back next week with a plan to begin to ease restrictions in a way that safely allows businesses to start opening back up after the 28 day period is over," Ford said. 

"I want the health officials to come up with a plan that lets businesses operate safety because we don’t know how long this virus will be with us."

Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and York Region are currently in a modified Stage 2, which forces indoor dining, movie theatres and gyms to close.

The 28-day period for the modified Stage 2 restrictions in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 6. Restrictions end in York Region a week later.

Ford is facing internal backlash over the COVID-19 public health restrictions, after new data revealed that bars, restaurants and gyms have not been significant known sources of outbreaks.

A detailed sector-by-sector breakdown, presented to the public on Thursday, pointed to schools, daycares, long-term care and retirement homes as the primary source of outbreaks.

Between Aug. 1 and Oct. 24, bars and restaurants accounted for 14 per cent of the overall outbreaks in Toronto, while gyms represented just three per cent of the total outbreaks during that time. 

That being said, in Toronto 65 per cent of cases had no epidemiological link, meaning that public health officials could not pinpoint a source.

Health officials reported 896 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The recent numbers bring the seven-day average to 909 cases daily, which is the highest it has ever been.