The day has finally come, friends — Ontario’s mask mandate has officially been dropped almost everywhere. For the first time in nearly two years, we can walk around bare-faced in public places. Surreal, isn’t it?

Provincial officials announced earlier this month that come March 21st, masking requirements would end in most settings like schools, restaurants, gyms, theatres, and retail stores.

However, individuals can still choose to wear one and are encouraged to do so if they are at high risk of infection.

Masks are still mandatory in some places too, including public transit, long-term care, retirement homes, healthcare settings, congregate care settings, shelters, jails, and homes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Masks are also still required at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

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Come April 27th, the province plans to end all of the COVID-related measures still in place and will continue to give out antigen tests and PPE to businesses, child care, and schools.

Ontario’s top doctor Dr. Moore said that the decision to remove the mandates is in response to the falling case counts in the province and the decreased risk of transmission.

However, he stressed that the risk of transmission is not gone and is still occurring across the province.

Plus, masks may be implemented if a new variant emerges or during the winter months when COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are more transmissible.

We may not know what the future holds, but today, life will definitely feel more normal than it has in a long time.