Ford faces tough choices on COVID-19 restrictions as Ontario case count hits new high

Doug Ford

OTTAWA — Ontario Premier Doug Ford has some tough choices to make as he decides which businesses can reopen while the province reports a single-day record in new coronavirus cases.

The province is planning to lay out a framework — expected today — with specific criteria to impose regional restrictions.

Eleven Toronto-area mayors said in a letter Monday they support the plan, but called on the premier to allow businesses closed under “modified Stage 2” measures to unlock their doors and remain open.

Last month Ontario ordered Stage 2 restrictions — set to expire this weekend — in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region that closed gyms and banned indoor dining at restaurants and bars, with York Region added to the list of hot spots on Oct. 19.

Ontario is reporting an unprecedented 1,050 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 14 new deaths due to the virus.

About 80 per cent of the new cases were in the hot spots of Toronto and the surrounding regions of Peel, Halton, York and Durham.

Quebec is reporting 871 new COVID-19 infections and 34 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including five that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Health authorities said today the number of people in hospital rose by 27 to 526, and 85 people were in intensive care, a rise of four.