Ford says he is open to loosening some dining, gym rules in Toronto and Peel Region

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TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford says he is open to loosening restrictions in two Ontario hotspots to allow outdoor restaurant dining and fitness.

Ford says he would approve changes to the province's pandemic framework to adjust restrictions for Toronto and Peel Region if Ontario's top doctor felt the move was safe.

The medical officers of health in both hotspots said yesterday that they wanted their communities to remain in the strictest "grey lockdown" category of the pandemic framework but with the rules adjusted to allow outdoor dining and fitness.

The "grey" category allows retailers to open with restrictions but bans indoor restaurant dining, gyms and personal care services.

Toronto's top doctor said she expects the province will announce its decision on the modification request on Friday.

Meanwhile, the government announced it will tighten pandemic restrictions for Ottawa on Friday.

The city will move to the second-strictest "red" level of the province's colour-coded pandemic framework.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press