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Ontario removes mask requirement in most public places, including schools, retail settings | Education News

Ontario removes mask requirement in most public places, including schools, retail settings | Education News
Ontario removes mask requirement in most public places, including schools, retail settings 

Masks are no longer required in most public venues in Ontario, including schools and retail establishments

Ontario has lifted its masking requirements in most indoor settings, including schools, restaurants, gyms and stores as the province reported 551 COVID-19 hospitalizations and four more deaths on Monday.

The change comes weeks after the province removed proof-of-vaccination rules and capacity limits.

Provincial politicians and top health officials say public health indicators have improved enough to warrant the removal of mask rules, which have also been removed in Canada and other jurisdictions around the world.

Premier Doug Ford has said he plans to wear masks after a mandate in the provincial legislature "for the first few days", insisting that people should be allowed to wear masks if they wish.

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Mask is still mandatory in some settings

Select settings such as public transportation, health care facilities, long-term care homes and collective care settings will keep the mask mandate until the end of April, when the province plans to phase out all remaining public health regulations.

Dr. Peter Zuni, who heads Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, is still encouraging people to continue wearing masks in busy indoor environments at this time.

"It's not black or white ... as long as we take it slowly, we should be fine," Juni told CBC News Sunday.  "It's not over pretending there's a light switch and tomorrow we'll go back to pre-pandemic."  Were not." 

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The province's top doctor has similarly said people should be "kind, considerate and respectful" to those who continue to wear masks.

Dr. Kieran Moore has also said that this does not indicate that COVID-19 has disappeared or that the pandemic is over, but that it means that Ontario has moved to the place where it is now the cause of the virus.  can manage. 

'They want a safe return from March break'.

Some local health officials in parts of the north of the province are encouraging residents to wear masks in indoor public settings.

School boards that wanted more time to keep the mask mandate in place have been ordered by Moore to adhere to the official expiration date, but the Hamilton-Wentworth school board has said it plans to keep the mask requirement until April 1. 

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Stephanie De Castro, an 11th grade student at Senator O'Connor College School in Toronto, said "a lot" of her school's students went to school wearing masks, including herself, despite the mandate being lifted on Monday.

"I think it's a little early, especially after the March holiday," de Castro told CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Monday.

"I'm sure myself and a lot of students will continue to do this."

De Castro said she will continue to wear her mask at school because she wants to protect her 6-year-old brother, who has not received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and her 80-year-old grandmother with whom she lives.

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"I'm tired of wearing a mask, I don't think it's normal ... but I think it's too soon for my personal precaution [and] my family."

Evan Wu, a Class 12 student at Earl Haig Secondary School in Toronto, said he would prefer to wear his mask "depending on the setting".

"When it comes to lunchtime, crowded halls... [I'm] probably going to put on my mask," Wu told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. 

Jennifer Brown, president of Toronto Elementary Teachers, said some teachers will continue to put on their masks after returning to classes after the March break.

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"Teachers understand they have to live with COVID, but they want a cautious approach to return," Brown said.  "[They] are very concerned about the state of the mask being taken off. They want a safe return from the March holiday ... Many people have traveled during this time."

551 people have hospitalized with COVID-19

Ontario is reporting 551 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, with 181 patients in intensive care.

The number of hospitalizations remained the same as the day before, but has come down from 602 exactly a week ago.  However, not all hospitals report data over the weekend.

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The number of patients in the ICU is down from 182 reported on Sunday and slightly less than the 228 currently reported last week.

The province reported four more deaths linked to the virus on Friday, bringing the official death toll to 12,336.

Another 1,217 new COVID-19 cases have also been reported through limited PCR testing, although the province's science table estimates the current daily number of infections to be between 15,000 and 20,000 based on wastewater data.

Source: CBC News, Direct News 99