Calling it “the single toughest decision I’ve made since I’ve taken office, bar none,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a return to tighter restrictions in “hot-spot regions” Toronto, Peel and Ottawa for the next 28 days, effective midnight tonight.
Modified Stage 2 Restrictions
Citing “all [pandemic] trends … going in the wrong direction,” Ford unveiled measures for a “modified stage 2” for the three regions, which will include:
Shutting down indoor dining in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments;
Closing indoor gyms and fitness centres, casinos and other gaming establishments, indoor cinemas, performing arts centres and venues, and other entertainment locations; and
Prohibiting personal care services that require the removal of a mask.
Schools, childcare centres and places of worship will remain open but must continue to follow established public health measures.
The “modified stage 2” measures will be reviewed after 28 days to determine the next steps.
Support for Small Business
To help mitigate the impact of the renewed closures on small businesses, Ford said the province will provide $300 million in assistance to assist businesses, particularly in managing fixed costs. Waiving of provincial and municipal tax bills as well as hydro and gas costs are also in the works, with further details to come in the coming days.