Ontario premier says decision on easing Stage 2 restrictions will be made 'very soon'
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford said a decision will be made "very soon" on whether restrictions can be eased in the province's COVID-19 hot spots.
Ford made the comments on Monday in Mississauga while announcing a new standard that would see long-term care residents receive an average of four hours of direct care every day.
The premier said he would get recommendations from the health table later that day, adding that he would hopefully have some "better news over the next few days."
"We'll have to review what the health table brings to us an make that decision very soon," Ford said.
Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and York Region are currently in a modified Stage 2, which requires all indoor dining, gyms and movie theatres to close for a 28-day period.
The 28-day period expires for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa on Saturday, while in York Region it ends a week later.
Ford said on Friday that he wanted to ease restrictions and reopen businesses that have been forced to close.
"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 Friday.
Ford is facing internal backlash over the COVID-19 public health restrictions, after new data released last week showed that 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.