doug ford announcement

Doug Ford wants to lift restrictions on Toronto businesses next weekend

Being pushed back into a modified version of Stage 2 has been tough on the people of Toronto, particularly those who own fitness centres, bars and indoor restaurants.

It's been 20 days since Ontario's provincial government ordered the closure of these and other high-risk spaces in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region, meaning that there's just over a week left in the 28-day-long closure period put into effect on October 10.

With pandemic emergency orders being extended every month since COVID-19 first hit in March, nobody could be blamed for worrying that those "28 days" could go on for months.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like this will be the case.

Premier Doug Ford announced during his daily press conference on Friday that he will be asking public health officials to prepare a plan for easing restrictions in the three OG coronavirus hot spots as early as next weekend.

"Based on the evidence I'm seeing, the measures we had to take on October the 10th have had an effect. My friends, they are working," said Ford, noting that the Stage 2 restrictions were never meant to be "longterm solutions."

"These were short term, difficult, very difficult measures that were necessary at the time to avoid reaching a point where far more drastic measures may be needed," said Ford.

Pleased with new COVID-19 modelling figures released by his health command table on Thursday, Ford seems confident that all of our sacrifices paid off.

"Based on the latest evidence, based on what I am 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," he said.

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

No word yet on whether this plan will apply in the near future to York Region, which joined the modified Stage 2 club on Oct. 19, but the 28-day period for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa comes to an end on Nov. 6.

Should Ford's team come up with a suitable plan, indoor restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms and other attractions shuttered under modified Stage 2 would resume operations on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Lead photo by

Tom R.

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