Ontario to lift mask mandates this month, other COVID-19 restrictions in April

Halton Healthcare will continue with the mask mandate at their three hospitals. Moshin Abbas/ Milton Reporter Staff

By Saeed Akhtar – The Milton Reporter Staff

Ontario will soon be lifting mask mandates and all other COVID-19 restrictions due to improving health indicators, such as a stable COVID-19 test positivity rate and declining hospitalizations as well as Ontario’s high vaccination rate and the availability of antiviral treatments.

In a statement Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore shared how Ontario intends to lift the remaining public health and workplace safety measures and manage COVID-19 for the long-term.

“With continued improvement in trends, Ontario will remove the mandatory masking requirement for most settings on March 21, with the exception of select settings such as public transit, health care settings, long-term care homes and congregate care settings. Masking for these settings will still be required until April 27. On March 28, the Reopening Act Ontario (ROA) will expire,” Dr Moore said.

“While this does not signal that COVID-19 has disappeared or that the pandemic is over, it does mean that we have come to a place where we know what we need to do to manage this virus and to keep each other safe,” he added.

Dr. Moore stressed the need to remain vigilant, saying that people need to stay home when sick, “and most importantly, we need to get vaccinated and boosted.”

He also thanked Ontarians for their ongoing resilience and commitment to community “as we navigated this global pandemic together.”

“Your sacrifices and collective actions have made a difference.”

Reporting COVID-19 deaths

Ontario is also updating the way it reports COVID-19 deaths from this coming Friday. The procedure will include classification of the fact whether COVID-19 caused a death, contributed to a death, or if the cause of death is unknown or missing.

Also Ontario will be reporting deaths by vaccination status and age group, removing from the cumulative total any deaths that are now classified as being unrelated to COVID-19.

During the past 24 hours, Ontario reported another 1,947 new COVID-19 cases, and 751 hospitalizations.  A total of 27 people died due to virus-related complications, pushing the overall official death toll to 12,618 in the province.