masks ontario

Ontario is getting rid of masks but here's where you'll still need to wear one

Ontario has finally set a date for shedding its mask mandates after 17 months of requiring the garment in all indoor public spaces provincewide, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announcing during a press conference on Wednesday that face coverings will no longer be compulsory in most settings as of March 21.

But, though residents will soon be permitted entry to bars, restaurants, cafes, retail stores, gyms, schools and other such places bare-faced, there are still some areas where masking will be required.

The provincial measure will remain in the following select settings deemed higher-risk for virus transmission, whether due to the vulnerable people within them or the lack of ability for physical distancing:

  • public transit
  • healthcare settings, such as hospitals
  • long-term care homes
  • other high-risk congregate care settings, such as shelters, group homes and correctional facilities
  • places where masks are federally required, such as during air travel

Municipal bylaws, if not updated according to this new guidance from the province, may also affect whether a mask is required in certain spaces where you live (Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has stated, for the record, that mask mandates should lift locally in line with the province).

"Masks can help protect you and others from becoming infected with COVID-19... for those most vulnerable to the virus it is still strongly recommended that you continue to wear a mask," Moore reminded the public this morning.

"As a society, I am asking that we remain kind, considerate and respectful of those who continue to choose to wear a mask."

The health official added that though we're now entering a phase where we need to learn to live with COVID longer-term, measures like masking may indeed return in the future.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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