ontario mask mandate 2022

More and more places in Ontario are bringing back mandatory masking

While COVID numbers keep slowly trending upward once more in Ontario, many are wondering if we should be reintroducing certain basic measures — such as mask mandates — to help curb the spread.

Premier Doug Ford and his team are not all concerned with what some have deemed the sixth wave that we're currently experiencing, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore confident that we have the vaccination rates, general immunity, resources and hospital capacity to deal with the situation as is.

Though Moore still recommends that residents don face coverings voluntarily in public and "layer" other protective measures that have become somewhat second nature, others are calling for the return of mandates requiring us to do so.

While leaders consider whether this is necessary provincewide at this point — two years into the pandemic while we are learning to live more normally with COVID-19 — some businesses, institutions and even entire jurisdictions are bringing the garment back on a compulsory basis.

The City of Mississauga kept its mask rule around a few days past the end of the provincial order, while all university campuses and a number of individual business owners did the same.

Some places have even set up special hours for customers who aren't comfortable getting rid of their face coverings yet.

Progressively, more settings are officially reinstituting masks despite the fact that they are no longer legally required provincewide, including yet another major body today.

Following the lead of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the school board in the nation's capital has just moved to make the garment obligatory in all classrooms again, with the board using its authority under the Education Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act to do so.

School boards in the Toronto area are also considering the same, as their peer groups follow suit elsewhere in the province: Halton and Hamilton are meeting to consider the same motion in the coming days, CityNews reported on Wednesday.

Mask regulations could also be returning to the entire city of Toronto sooner than later, if our board of health has their way — the group is asking the provincial government to reinstate our Medical Officer of Health's powers to be able to bring bylaws back, and she is a known advocate of mask-wearing.

As of this week, it appears that mask measures will remain in place longer than originally planned in the few settings where they still exist: all healthcare settings, public transit and congregate living situations in Ontario.

While some experts continue to warn the public that mask directives and more are likely to and/or should be restored more widely in the province, the issue continues to be, like everything COVID-related, a divisive one among citizens.

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