No More Masks
Ontario is lifting its mask mandate on March 21st. Masks will no longer be required in most workplaces and public settings such as restaurants, gyms and large event spaces, including schools. The mask mandate will remain in place for higher-risk settings such as public transit, long-term care, retirement homes, hospitals, shelters, jails and congregate care settings. The mandate in these places will likely be discontinued on April 27th (all restrictions are anticipated to be lifted by that time).
After that date, masks will not be mandatory but will be encouraged for those who are immunocompromised, at high risk, or who wish to use them. Depending on your workplace health and safety factors, you may continue any of these measures voluntarily. We continue to recommend maintaining your workplace Vaccination Policy until the end of the year and we understand that Public Health units across the province are maintaining this recommendation regardless of the removal of other mandates.
As we previously advised on March 1st, Ontario already lifted most other measures including active screening (daily workplace questionnaire), capacity limits and proof of vaccination.
To promote consistency, Premier Ford also indicated that local medical officers of health who want to continue mask mandates after March 21st, must obtain clearance from the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Moore. We view this as a plus, given the patchwork approach that has sometimes created uncertainty amongst employers and the public.
Ministry of Health guidelines will remain in place for settings such as hospitals, where staff will be required to wear personal protective equipment, including masks. Hospital and healthcare providers can also choose to implement their own policies.
Close Contacts No Longer Need to Self-Isolate
The province also updated its isolation guidelines for close contacts. Provided you are fully vaccinated (including a booster), if you’re not experiencing symptoms, isolation is no longer required for household or non-household contacts of a COVID-positive case. Previously, vaccinated individuals were required to isolate for five days, and the non-vaccinated required to isolate for 10 days for being a close contact. Self-isolation rules remain in effect for unvaccinated individuals. However, those who are vaccinated and who come into contact with a COVID-positive case are now only required to self-monitor for symptoms, wear a mask, and avoid activities where mask removal is necessary.
A complete overview of the re-opening measures can be viewed here, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/21399054/220309_reopening_final.pdf
We will continue to monitor new developments to keep you informed. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance or information in the meantime.