The remaining mask mandates in Ontario are due to expire this weekend, ultimately ending the province’s public health restrictions of more than two years.
The mask mandate was lifted for most settings on March 21, but it remains in place for a number of higher-risk locations, such as public transportation, healthcare settings such as hospitals or doctor’s offices, long-term care and retirement homes, and shelters and other congregate settings that provide care to medically and socially vulnerable people.
Initially, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore had intended to lift the mandate for high-risk settings by April 27 but he extended it due to the sixth wave of the pandemic.
It is now slated to expire at midnight on June 11.
CP24.com did reach out to the Ministry of Health for confirmation that the mandate will be lifted as scheduled on Saturday and was told that Moore “is currently reviewing and monitoring key indicators across the province.”
“We will continue to seek and follow his advice on next steps,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.
The expected lifting of the mandate comes amid a dramatically improved viral picture in the province.
According to the latest data, there are now 526 people hospitalized with COVID-19, down from a sixth-wave peak of 1,730 in late April.
The number of COVID patients being treated in intensive care is also down to 114, which is approaching numbers not seen since last summer.
Meanwhile, wastewater surveillance data continues to point to declining levels of viral activity in most areas of the province.
It should be noted that the TTC has its own mask policy introduced prior to the Ontario-wide mandate.
The transmit commission has said in the past that masks will remain mandatory on the TTC “at least” until the lifting of the provincial mandate and that any changes to the policy “will be publicly announced at an appropriate time.”