Well, the time has finally come. For the first time in a long time, masks won’t be required in most of Ontario’s public spaces. Ontario’s top doctor Dr. Kieran Moore announced on Wednesday that Ontario’s mask mandates will be dropped in most settings on March 21st.
Masks will continue to be mandatory on public transit, in hospitals, health care settings, long-term care homes, and congregate care settings.
With capacity limits and vaccine passports no longer in effect, this has been one of the last public health mandates remaining in Ontario.
Dr. Moore added that “a process is now in place to gradually revoke all directives and instructions by the end of April.”
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Dr. Moore said last week that the decision to remove the mandate is in response to the falling case counts in the province and the decreased risk of transmission.
However, he stressed that the risk of COVID-19 is not gone — transmission is still occurring across the province and masks can help protect you and others from becoming infected.
With that being said, those who are at high risk of infection, including those who haven’t been vaccinated, are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in public settings.
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.
The Ministry of Health has released a timeline of when measures will be lifted this month, starting with mandatory vaccination policies on March 14th.
Ontario is also updating the rules for household members and close contacts of those who test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19. Now, contacts and household members will no longer have to isolate if they have received their booster dose, as well as children if they are fully vaccinated.
However, these close contacts will be required to wear a mask and avoid contact with high-risk individuals for 10 days, but can continue to go to work or school as long as they’re asymptomatic.
One thing is for sure — we’ve definitely come a long way since March 2020.