Is it mask on or mask off in Ontario? Masks are not mandatory in Ontario province-wide, Premier Doug Ford confirmed on June 16. But businesses retain the right to decide for themselves, and face coverings are still being made compulsory in some areas.

During the live press briefing on Tuesday, Ford said he still has no intention of making masks mandatory in indoor settings as most areas enter stage two of the reopening process.

He did, however, "highly, highly recommend" that people wear one when they go out.

Similar to his statement on Ontario's new family circles of 10 people, Ford pointed to the difficulties of enforcing measures like this.

"To police 14.5 million people would be very, very difficult, we just don't have the manpower for bylaw and police officers to be chasing everyone without masks," he said.

As a result, Ontario is willing to leave decisions up to health units and even individual stores.

"We want to work with the retailers, we don't want to force anyone to do anything..." Ford said.

"I know two big retailers are asking people to wear them or you're not getting into the store, so I think that's a good policy."

Minister of Health Christine Elliot echoed that message in the briefing, saying: "A number of retailers have decided that they want masks to be worn. If people want to enter, then it's the retailers' right to do that."

That accords with Ford's chat from a few weeks ago, when he said "any business has the right to refuse anyone," per The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail.

According to CP, big companies like Longo’s and T&T supermarkets, as well as Air Canada and Uber, are already requiring masks from all customers and travellers.

And while Ford might not want to lay down the law, certain areas are.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health made it mandatory to wear face coverings from Friday, June 12 in all indoor businesses.

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti issued a statement on Monday calling on businesses in the city to operate a "no mask, no service" policy as his city enters stage two this Friday.

Transit companies are also taking action, with the TTC in Toronto, Ottawa's OC Transpo, and Brampton having made face coverings obligatory for riders and drivers.

And the refusal to make masks mandatory goes against the advice of dozens of medical professionals who wrote to Canada's and Ontario's top health staff to urge the move.

So, the short answer is that face coverings aren't mandatory everywhere, but you might want to keep one on you whenever you're out and about.

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