Doug Ford says mask mandates in Ontario will end eventually but not anytime soon
Though the Government of Ontario's new phased plan to ease out of the latest set of lockdown restrictions offers some light at the end of yet another tunnel of business closures and other measures — which thankfully only lasted a few weeks this time rather than a few months — there are some aspects of normalcy that it doesn't look like we'll be getting back for some time.
Many have noticed that the new reopening timeline, while it permits restaurants and other shuttered settings to open their doors once more, does not mention anything about the eventual lifting of mask mandates or vaccine passport requirements for indoor public spaces.
And, Premier Doug Ford just confirmed in an interview this week that he doesn't see rules like these changing in the near future.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he doesn’t see the province’s mask mandates ending anytime soon. When speaking with Belleville radio station CJBQ yesterday, Ford shared that masks really protect people - though the mandates won’t be in place forever. pic.twitter.com/cK96DDYi1S— Breakfast Television (@breakfasttv) January 26, 2022
When speaking with Belleville's CJBQ Radio on Tuesday, in the same breath that the premier said he hopes the province will "get back to normal in March sometime" and feels that "we're going in the right direction," he added that he "can't say [mask mandates will come to an end] anytime soon, I think it really protects people."
"But eventually. We can't live this way forever, everyone knows it, and we eventually have to get back to normal. As for a date, I can't give you an exact date," he continued to broadcaster Lorne Brooker on his morning show.
"But even then, there's still going to be a lot of people who feel more secure with a mask on. They've been wearing masks in other parts of the world for many years. That's going to be up to each individual person when that time comes, but I encourage people to always wear a mask, especially when you're in close confinement."
This comes shortly after peer countries like the U.K. did away with face coverings, and also proof of vaccination rules, the latter of which Ford reassured citizens in September 2021 was an "exceptional measure" that would be only temporary.
@TobyBarrettHN @fordnation why is there no timeline to drop the mask mandate? Why is there no timeline to remove the state of emergency guidelines? The world is dropping mandates and you are holding on!— Mike Morris (@caistoragriserv) January 25, 2022
Monday, Jan. 31 marks the first of three phases to cautiously reopen sectors of the economy, which will start with the return of indoor dining at bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as welcoming back customers at movie theatres, concert halls, sports arenas, museums and more, all with capacity limits, proof of vaccination directives, physical distances and, of course, mandatory masking in place.
Toronto's city council is slated to reconsider the city's masking policies (and potentially extend them) later this month, while the provincial government stated back in late October that face coverings would continue to be a thing until at least March 28, 2022.
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