TORONTO -- Social circles of up to 10 people will likely be sticking around until at least the new year, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says.

“This pandemic is not over,” Ford warned residents during his afternoon news conference on Tuesday. “It’s going to continue going and in my opinion – I could be wrong, I’m no medical professional – but, in my opinion, this is going until January, until we get a vaccine or hopefully sooner when we get a vaccine.”

Almost two months ago, the province’s 14.5 million residents were told by the government that they could add others who they did not live with into their social bubbles, capping at 10 people per circle. This allowed many to finally hug their parent, grandparent or child for the first time in months.

Before that announcement was made on June 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario health officials recommended residents physically distance from anyone outside of their household.

Currently, social bubbles in Ontario remain at a maximum of 10 people and physical distance should be maintained around anyone outside of your circle.

On Tuesday, when asked if these restrictions would be amended anytime soon, Ford said the province’s health table does not have any immediate plans to do so.

“We have to be on guard constantly,” the premier said. “We can’t take our eye off the ball for a second when it comes to this because it will come back and bite us in the backside like we’ve never seen before.”

Ford went on to state that loosening these restrictions may result in “reckless and careless” behavior seen south of the border.

“I don’t want what happened in the U.S. to happen here and it can happen real quick, real quick so let’s just continue on. We’ve all worked so hard. Everyone has done a great job so let’s just continue on as a strong province.”

Ontario’s daily case count dipped below 100 for the first time since March last week.

This week, the province logged 88 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 91 on Tuesday following a spike over the weekend of more than 100 cases reported on Saturday and Sunday.

All of Ontario, except Windsor-Essex, is now in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.