Ontario Says Goodbye To Mask Mandates Today But Here's Where You'll Still Need To Wear One

Don't throw your masks away just yet!

Toronto Staff Writer
People ride a streetcar while wearing face masks.

People ride a streetcar while wearing face masks.

You may not have to wear a mask in the mall or on your next dinner date once restrictions lift on Monday, but you'll still need to wear one in some public settings.

The Ontario government announced that the mask mandate will be lifted for "most settings" on March 21 as COVID-19 trends continue to improve and the province moves to a "long-term approach" to dealing with the pandemic.

"With the peak of Omicron behind us, Ontario has been able to cautiously and gradually move through its reopening milestones," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore.

As of March 21, masks will no longer be required in most public spaces, however, Ontarians will still need to wear a mask when travelling on public transit or entering places like health care settings, long-term care homes, shelters, jails, and congregate care settings.

Masks will no longer be required in schools, indoor dining, malls, gyms, and other public spaces, according to a government handout.

But Moore noted that removing the mask mandate doesn't mean the risk is gone.

"COVID-19 transmission is still occurring across the province and masks can help protect you and others from becoming infected with COVID-19," said Moore. "In fact, we can expect indicators such as cases and hospitalizations to increase slightly as Ontarians increasingly interact with one another. However, thanks to our high vaccination rates and natural immunity that is developing, [...] Ontario has the tools necessary to manage the impacts of this virus."

He also said it's "strongly recommended" that high-risk individuals continue to wear a mask and noted there are still federal masking requirements for returning international travellers.

The Children’s Health Coalition released a press release encouraging "everyone to continue masking in schools" and said they would have preferred to see masks kept in place for two weeks after March break.

The Ontario government will continue to give schools and businesses access to rapid antigen tests and PPE. Protective measures of "enhanced cleaning" and ventilation will also remain in schools.

On April 27, all masking mandates will be lifted along with any remaining COVID-19 measures, which means you'll finally be able to throw your mask away for good if all goes as planned.

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