mask mandate ontario

Toronto's top doctor thinks you should probably keep that mask on for now

It didn’t take long at all for a 6th wave to descend on Ontario after mask and vaccine mandates ended in March. Over 850 are hospitalized across the province as of Monday, and it seems Ontario is on a collision course with another significant public health event just in time for the arrival of spring.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, said in a press conference on Monday that even though nobody is forcing you to wear a mask anymore (at least in most places) that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to go maskless.

"We are several weeks out since the province loosened COVID-19 restrictions, and with many more opportunities for people to mix, we are seeing an anticipated increase in COVID-19 activity in Toronto," de Villa said.

While de Villa isn’t advocating for the re-implementation of mandates at this point, she stressed that people "should expect that from time to time we are going to have to adjust our behaviour to use all the layers of self-protection that we have at our disposal to respond appropriately to the COVID-19 activity in our community," adding that "This is one of those times."

"It's true that individuals are no longer mandated to wear a mask in many settings, but you can choose to wear one. You can choose to continue to wear one, and I encourage you to do so," said de Villa.

She added that masking up "is a simple thing we can all do, especially if you are older, have older people in your life, have a serious health condition or simply are indoors with people you do not know."

It’s reading as a somewhat unclear message in the vicinity of "you don’t have to wear a mask but also please wear a mask," one that has many on social media calling for decisive action to curb the rising case counts.

It sure seems like there’s a correlation between the end of mandates and the start of the 6th wave.

Some have taken aim at leaders like de Villa and John Tory for not cracking down on the situation.

Mayor Tory said on Monday that "The best way to protect the progress we have made is for everyone to get their third dose," though he made no mention of masks or face coverings in his statement regarding the city’s third dose drive.

The Ontario government has stated that it will lift all remaining mask mandates and COVID-19 public health measures on April 27.

Either they will backtrack on this stated intention or risk a catastrophic wave of hospitalizations in an election year, and only time will tell.

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