Province pledging $300M for small businesses impacted by modified Stage 2

The money will help them with their fixed costs over the next 28 days

Premier Doug Ford looked somber today as he announced Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa would be rolled back into a modified Stage 2.

"I can't stress this enough on how difficult, how painful it was to make this decision. My heart just breaks for these folks and I understand what this decision means to each and every one of you. I can tell you I didn't sleep last night. Believe me, this weighs heavy on me for making this decision."

Some of the restrictions include no more indoor dining or drink service at restaurants and bars and the closure of gyms, fitness centres, casinos and theatres.

The province will be making $300M available to small businesses to help them try and survive these new restrictions and the second wave of the virus. "This funding will assist small businesses with their fixed costs during the next 28 days. This will include waiving provincial and municipal property tax bills, as well as hydro and natural gas bills. This money will be made available as soon as possible. We will release more details in the coming days."

Ford says he was shown data last night that is very alarming and forced him to act. "All trends are going in the wrong direction. Left unchecked, we risk worst case scenarios first seen in Italy and New York City."

Ontario recorded a daily record-high of 939 new COVID cases. Toronto is reporting 336 new cases, Peel is reporting 150 new cases, and in Ottawa new cases sit at 126.

As for testing, nearly 45,000 tests were completed but the backlog is still more than 58,000 cases.

"As we post record testing numbers, the percentage of people testing positive is rising too quickly with some communities showing as high as a 10 per cent positivity. The virus is starting to spread to older people as the number of contacts for every confirmed case has exploded, sometimes in the thousands," Ford says. "Hospitalizations and the number of people in intensive care have increased by 250 per cent. If current trends continue, Ontario ICU admissions are predicted to more than triple in less than 30 days. Our hospitals will become overwhelmed and we can't let this happen."

Ford says we cannot afford to roll back to Stage One because it would be a economic disaster.