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Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement with Health Minister Christine Elliott during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Sept. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press

A plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the province’s hot spots is coming next week, Premier Doug Ford said Friday, indicating he’s asked health advisors for a strategy to allow shuttered businesses to safely reopen.

Ford’s comments came a day after provincial health officials suggested the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing in Ontario, but warned the situation could quickly worsen again.

The Premier said restrictions placed on Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa on Oct. 10 were always intended to be a short-term solution to soaring case counts in those regions.

“I truly believe if we didn’t make this decision … we would be having a different conversation today,” he said. “We’d be having a conversation possibly like France or Spain.”

The restrictions were put in place for 28 days and, among other things, closed gyms and banned indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

The measures sparked anger among members of the business community, who have pressed Mr. Ford to produce data to justify the decision.

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