Ontario Updates Masking Requirements and Other Health Mandates

The Ontario government has announced a phased withdrawal of COVID restrictions beginning this week.

Effective immediately, there is no isolation requirements for any household or non-household contacts suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19, with one exception: household contacts who 1) are 18+ and have not received a COVID-19 booster shot (three doses), or are younger than 18 and not fully vaccinated, and 2) have not previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Persons meeting those two criteria should continue to isolate per government directions. Those who are feeling unwell but not required to isolate themselves should still take appropriate precautions.

Effective Mon. Mar. 14, mandatory vaccination policies for employees at schools, child-care settings, hospitals, and long-term care facilities will come to an end.

On Mon., Mar 21, masks will no longer be required in schools, restaurants and bars, gyms, and movie theatres. Masks and face coverings will still be required in places like public transit, long-term care homes, health-care settings, and shelters until Wed., Apr. 27.

Any remaining public health directives and orders will be withdrawn on Apr. 27.

The restrictions are being lifted as test positivity, hospitalizations, and wastewater testing all show sharp declines in COVID infections in Ontario.

Statement from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health

TORONTO — Today, March 9th 2022 Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health issued the following statement:

“With the peak of Omicron behind us, Ontario has been able to cautiously and gradually move through its reopening milestones.

The majority of public health and workplace safety measures have now been lifted, and key public health indicators continue to improve or remain stable.

As we continue on this path, we are able to take a more balanced and long-term approach to Ontario’s pandemic response.

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.

As a society, we must remain kind, considerate and respectful toward those who continue wearing a mask. We must also expect indicators, such as cases and hospitalizations, to increase slightly as Ontarians increasingly interact with one another. However, thanks to our high vaccination rates and natural immunity, as well as the arrival of antivirals, Ontario has the tools necessary to manage the impact of the virus.

I want to thank 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.

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.

We need to remain vigilant. We need to stay home when sick. And, most importantly, we need to get vaccinated and boosted.

Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19 and the best protection for the progress we have made.”

Learn how Ontario intends to lift the remaining public health and workplace safety measures and learn to manage COVID-19 for the long-term.