The Ontario government announced Wednesday that remaining provincial masking rules will be lifted on Saturday, June 11, including public transit and hospital settings.
Masks will still be required in long-term care and retirement homes, but only recommended in higher-risk congregate settings like shelters and group homes.
"Ontarians should continue to wear a mask if they feel it is right for them, are at high risk for severe illness, recovering from COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19," a statement from Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health reads.
"Thanks to the efforts of all Ontarians following public health measures and getting vaccinated we have made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. However, I want to remind Ontarians to stay home when sick and, most importantly, get vaccinated and boosted if eligible. Staying up to date with vaccination is the best protection against severe outcomes and will help us maintain the progress we have made."
Some organizations, including hospital groups, have indicated that they will continue to require masks to be worn in their spaces.
CHEO remains a high-risk environment. Many of the children and youth we serve are immuno-compromised, unvaccinated, and vulnerable. We will continue to require everyone who enters our facilities to be screened and masked. pic.twitter.com/g1ATBuZPSc
— CHEO Ottawa (@CHEO) June 8, 2022
"As many people in the community shed layers of COVID-19 protection, CHEO needs to continue with all the layers of protection we have, including entrance screening and masking for everyone," a release from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa reads.
"Importantly, CHEO still has a significant percentage of sick and vulnerable children in our care who are not eligible for vaccination against COVID-19... We are maintaining our status quo because it’s prudent. And, frankly, we have no other responsible choice."
We are maintaining masking requirements in all Unity Health locations for the foreseeable future. Continuing to follow masking is an effective way to create a safe environment for healing. https://t.co/Vv2OzRtVhU pic.twitter.com/DbrBBXmv3Y
— Unity Health Toronto (@UnityHealthTO) June 9, 2022
"Health care settings have the authority to continue masking policies past June 11, 2022, to ensure a safe environment for healing. These measures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future," information from Unity Health Toronto reads.
"It is important that you wear your mask properly when you are at the hospital."
Several health experts took to social media to respond to the upcoming changes to the masking rules.
BREAKING: This Saturday, Ontario will drop masking requirements for hospitals.
Masking is the bare minimum we can do to keep vulnerable, frail, immunocompromised people safe in hospital when they are sick.
— Dr. Amit Arya (@AmitAryaMD) June 8, 2022
So let me get this straight: Ontario will continue to require masking in long-term care and retirement homes, where many people are sick and immunocompromised...but not require masking in hospitals, where many people are also sick and immunocompromised?
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) June 9, 2022
Limiting masking requirements to LTC & Ret Homes sends a message that protecting vulnerable members of our community elsewhere (pharmacies, clinics, public transit, markets, etc.) is a choice. Public Health is not a choice. It's a responsibility. #WeNotMe
— Abdu Sharkawy (@SharkawyMD) June 9, 2022
— Michelle Cohen, MD (@DocMCohen) June 8, 2022