Mask mandate ends in Oshawa, Pickering and the rest of Ontario today


Published March 21, 2022 at 8:28 am

Photo Chris Young Canadian Press

Today is the day mandatory masking ends in Ontario’s schools, retail settings and most other indoor public spaces but it is not time to put your mask away just yet.

You will still need to mask up on Durham Region Transit and GO Transit, as well as hospitals and other health care facilities, long-term care and retirement homes, shelters and congregate care settings, at least until the end of April when the Province will re-assess the mandates.

The change comes a few weeks after Doug Ford’s government lifted proof-of-vaccination rules and capacity limits.

Provincial politicians and top health officials say public health indicators have improved enough to remove mask rules, which have also been lifted in other jurisdictions across Canada and around the world.

Ford has said he plans to keep wearing a mask in the provincial legislature “for the first few days” after the mandate lifts, stressing that people should be allowed to keep wearing masks if they want to.

The province’s top doctor has also stated that people must remain “kind, considerate and respectful” toward those who continue wearing a mask.

Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said the move comes as “key public health indicators” continue to improve or remain stable, adding that Durham and Ontario are now moving to a long-term approach in “managing and living with COVID.”

However, Kyle warns that COVID-19 remains active in the Region. “Lifting remaining public health measures does not mean the risk of COVID-19 has been eliminated,” he said. “There continue to be new cases of COVID-19 daily and the virus is still circulating in our community.”

Kyle encouraged vulnerable populations such as the elderly or immunocompromised to continue wearing masks in indoor settings for the near future.

With files from Liam David

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