As expected it was announced today that the mask mandates are ending soon in Ontario.
Ontario is removing most mask mandates on March 21, including in schools, and is ending all remaining public health orders a month later, shifting the onus of protection from COVID-19 to individuals.
“You have to recognize you can’t mandate masking forever, that it has to be eventually an individual choice based on an individual’s risk assessment,” Dr. Kieran Moore said, the chief medical officer of health.
“We’re at that point by March 21st, that we’re asking Ontarians to do an individual assessment, acknowledging that the risk remains, but that we’re well over the peak of activity across Ontario and we have to learn to live with this virus.”
Moore said masking requirements may need to return if a new variant emerges. In the meantime, he encouraged people to be kind to those who choose to continue wearing masks and said he would personally keep wearing one in a mall or busy big-box store. Moore also “strongly recommended” people who are vulnerable to keep masking.
The next step in Ontario’s reopening will come on March 14, when mandatory vaccinate-or-test policies end for workers in schools, child-care settings, hospitals and long-term care. The long-term care ministry had been set to mandate booster doses for staff on that date.
Individual organizations will have the authority to keep their own requirements in place, and most hospitals have said they will continue their strict vaccine mandates.
Changes to COVID-19 Reporting Coming
Ontario is also updating its reporting on COVID-19 deaths starting Friday. The province will classify whether COVID-19 caused a death, contributed to a death, or if the cause of death is unknown or missing.
As well, Ontario will report deaths by vaccination status and age group, and remove from the cumulative total any deaths that are now classified as being unrelated to COVID-19.