Premier says municipalities have the power to rollback reopenings amid spike in COVID-19 infections

Doug Ford says to close the whole province is unacceptable

With a rise in COVID-19 cases, Premier Ford said municipal officials have the power to rollback indoor and outdoor gatherings and that he would support them.

During a media briefing with the Quebec Premier in Mississauga on Wednesday, Ford said he is currently not considering rolling back reopenings on a provincial level.

“It’s really up to each region. That’s why we broke it down when we reopened it up in regions. I encourage anyone who has a concern, be it any of the large cities. You’re the mayor, make a decision and we’ll support you. But to say I am going to close the whole province is unacceptable. I wouldn’t close the province when 16 regions don’t have one single case. It’s not fair to the rest of the province.”

The Ontario government reported 149 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a slight drop from the 185 new infections on Tuesday, but the number of tests processed in the past 24 hours was 17,600, a significant drop from the 23,725 on Tuesday.

There were eight new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit on Wednesday. This is on top of the 17 new infections reported over the Labour Day weekend.

The premier was asked about the decision by British Columbia to close nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We aren’t there. We aren’t even close to being there yet. But it could spike overnight. It’s concerning.”

Premier Legault suggested that an increase in COVID-19 infections in Quebec was the result of social gatherings and could not be pinned on bars and nightclubs.

Ford said if Toronto Mayor John Tory wants to close things down there was nobody stopping him.

“My message to Mayor Tory is that you have the power to do it, so do it. If he wants to close, close them down. When there are 16 regions in Ontario without one case, I can’t do that right across the province, and that’s the reason we have been going region to region. All the power to Mayor Tory. He know’s he has the authority to do it. Do it tomorrow.”

The premier said that goes for any region if they want to close down bars, be it Ottawa, Toronto or Brampton, or anywhere.

Toronto, Peel and Ottawa continued a trend on Wednesday of being hot spots for new infections, with 50, 41 and 16 respectively.