Ontario premier confirms new measures are coming for COVID-19 hotspots

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he will be making announcements over the next day or two to about measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province's hotspots.

Ford made the comment on Tuesday after being asked about people who continue to ignore public health advice and gather in large groups without physical distancing. 

He said he has spoken with the mayors of Toronto, Ottawa and Brampton, who have each identified their areas of concern. 

"We need to be all over this," Ford said while making an announcement in Guelph. "Just stayed tuned, over the next day or two we will roll out announcements for regions that are affected."

When asked for further details about the announcements, a spokesperson for the premier told CTV News Toronto they could not provide further information at this time. 

Sources told CTV News Toronto, the mayors of Toronto, Brampton and Ottawa, the three COVID-19 hotspots in Ontario, raising concerns about the current gathering limits has led to the provincial government considering changes.

Sources also said Ontario's COVID-19 data is not showing bars, restaurants and gyms as the reason for the recent uptick and therefore they may not require a shutdown.

On Monday, Ford warned the province's surging COVID-19 case count is "cause for concern" and that another shutdown is not off the table. He said if Ontario was forced into another shutdown he would look at rolling back parts of the province on a region-by-region basis.

"We have to look at it in regions," Ford said, adding there are currently three COVID-19 hotspots in the province.

Ford again begged people in these regions to stop gathering in large groups, which he says is mostly responsible for a spike in cases.

"I just asked the small percentage that are having the parties in the backyard, guys, we just can’t do it," Ford said. 

He said that unless "you're living in a cave or your living under some rock somewhere" it should be clear that these gatherings are not appropriate. 

Ford said earlier this month that he won't stand in the way of local officials rolling back the limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

"They have the authority to do it, they know they have the authority to do it and if they feel comfortable in doing that God bless them, roll them back," Ford said.

None of the regions have rolled back social gathering sizes since Ford made the comments. 

At the outset of the pandemic in March, Ontario prohibited all social gatherings and events of more than five people but it later relaxed those restrictions as part of its stage three reopening, allowing indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people.

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