Ontario announces the extension of all remaining mask mandates
Ontario's provincial government has announced the extention of all remaining mask mandates past their initial April 27 expiry date, meaning that face coverings will still be required in hospitals, long-term care homes, public transit and other high-risk settings until at least mid-June.
"As Ontario continues to effectively manage the sixth wave of COVID-19, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is maintaining existing provincial masking requirements in select higher-risk indoor settings until June 11, 2022," reads a release issued by the province on Friday.
"While the province adapts to managing and living with COVID-19, the Ontario government is using every tool available to protect hospital capacity and ensure Ontario can stay open. This includes continuing masking in high-risk settings, expanding eligibility for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and expanding access to antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid."
You can find a complete list of settings where masks are currently required on the province's website, but the Ministry of Health summarizes the list as follows:
Under the government's latest reopening plan, announced in March, high-risk mask mandates were set to be the last of all public health measures to go on April 27 at 12:01 a.m.
Many have been calling for mask requirements to be reimplemented in the weeks since due to rising case numbers and hospitalizations.
As of mid-April, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and Toronto's Medical Officer of Health are both recommending that people wear masks indoors, though it is no longer legally mandated.
Masking rules may not have been widely reimplemented as some had hoped, but the extension of existing rules for high-risk settings is better than nothing.
"To protect our progress in managing this latest wave, I am maintaining masking requirements in specific public settings where individuals who are, or may be, at increased risk of severe outcomes, are in close contact for extended periods of time," said CMOH Dr. Kieran Moore on Friday when announcing the news.
"Continuing to follow masking requirements and keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations are the best ways we can prevent transmission and protect our friends, families, and our communities."
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