ontario mask mandate

People in Ontario are up in arms about having to remove face masks for ID photos

While we are all (unfortunately) regularly made aware of the existence of the maddening anti-masker crowd, on the flip side, there are those who are painstakingly diligent — perhaps to a fault — about mask usage while the threat of COVID-19 still looms, albeit less menacingly.

Though it is of course advisable to follow all of the relevant public health and safety guidelines that have become second nature to us at this point, such as wearing face coverings in certain settings, there are a few rare situations in which these protocols can't feasibly be heeded.

Take, for example, getting a new photo taken for your government-issued ID; a process that one Ontario woman was appalled that she had to remove her mask for.

"I was told I would have to remove my mask in @ServiceOntario for a picture to renew my health card. I have a young child at home who’s unvaccinated. Hard pass," the Burlington resident tweeted out on Tuesday afternoon, tagging Premier Doug Ford, among others.

"These places are lined up and packed. Why is this still a requirement?"

Though there were a few who stepped up to agree with the woman, the vast majority of the hundreds of responses to her post were unfortunately not in her favour.

"If you're fully vaccinated, removing your mask for a few seconds to have your picture taken is not really a serious concern re: becoming infected and especially, secondarily transmitting to someone else," one person — who happens to be a doctor — aptly replied.

"You're fine if you take off your mask for five seconds. You didn't really expect to wear a mask for government identification that you know… shows your face?'" another chimed.

Others still called her a Karen, or thought the whole thing must have been a joke.

As stated on the provincial government's website, there are indeed circumstances in which people are not required to wear a face covering. Among them are temporarily removing your mask to receive services that require you to do so, such as going to the dentist, eating and drinking or "when you have to verify your identity."

(Any young-passing person will know that buying alcohol during the pandemic meant, at times, having to lower your face mask for an LCBO employee checking your ID.)

ServiceOntario, too, reminded the woman that locations have additional measures in effect to keep guests safe, adding that "we continue to monitor this situation and are working closely with Ministry of Health."

There are also now ways to renew some forms of identification online, while driver's licenses and healthcards that expired on or after March 1, 2020 will remain valid past their expiration date until further notice.

We'll have to see how things pan out with the anti-vaxxers/anti-maskers and the mask-obsessed groups as health measures continue to loosen, up to and including the eventual revocation of mask mandates, like in B.C. earlier this month.

Lead photo by

Glenn Dickler/Google


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