COVID-19 mandates end across Ontario, but the requirement for border testing remains
COVID-19 mandates end across Ontario, but the requirement for border testing remains

COVID-19 mandates end across Ontario, but the requirement for border testing remains

Put on a face mask. Photo: USAF

The mask mandate ends in Ontario on March 21.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore issued a statement on March 9, explaining that the mandatory mask requirement for visitors to most public places will cease, except on board public transportation, inside health facilities and group homes.

“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 to do to deal with this virus and to keep each other safe, “Moore said.

He reminded the people of Ontario to respect those who still choose to wear masks.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the Health Officer of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which includes the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, Cornwall, and the part of Akwesasne north of the international border, also stressed, that people still have to wear masks if they want to.

“If people want to wear a mask after the 21ststit is their right, ‚ÄĚRoumeliotis said.

March break for students in total publicly funded Schools across Ontario run from March 14 to 18. Roumeliotis hoped the mask mandate for schools would last a little longer to allow school boards and staff to prepare for and assess what happens after March 21st.

“I was hoping it would take another two weeks,” Roumeliotis said.

Daily screening and cohort grouping for students in primary schools also ends on 21 March.

In addition, all capacity restrictions at indoor public venues will expire on March 14, including for religious services. The number of people allowed to gather indoors for a social event remains at 50 and there will be no restriction on outdoor gatherings.

The requirement to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination at restaurants, bars, and other select venues in Ontario ended March 1st.

As of March 21, mandatory passive COVID-19 screening and COVID-19 job security plans throughout Ontario will end.

For people who get in touch with a person in Ontario who tested positive during the last 90 days will only need self-monitoring instead of isolation in most cases.

The Reopening Ontario Act, which was passed by the Legislature in 2020 to address COVID-19 restrictions and gradually remove them under the terms, expires on April 28th. Roumeliotis said on March 9 that this time it is unlikely that the provincial cabinet will renew the legislation by decree and will let it lapse.

On March 9, Roumeliotis said individual doctors could issue specific mandates to their regions, but that is unlikely to happen in eastern Ontario.

“I see no need for it,” Roumeliotis said.

The incidence of COVID-19 infection among residents of Eastern Ontario Health Units (EOHU) territory has dropped significantly since the peak of the omicron variant wave in January.

As of Friday, March 11, the positivity rate among the population of Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Cornwall and the Canadian part of Akwesasne was 10.1 percent.

Public health officials have repeatedly maintained that the reason for revoking mandates is due to low case numbers and high vaccination rates against COVID-19. But a recent press release from Freedom Convoy 2022, the organization behind the truck driver-led demonstrations in Ottawa and across Canada during February, is the protests behind the removal of seats.

“Restrictions are being dropped by provincial governments across Canada and federal governments around the world,” the press release said.

Meanwhile, the federal mandate for all people entering Canada’s land border crossings to give a negative result of a COVID-19 rapid test obtained within 24 hours remains in force. The test must be processed by a laboratory and cannot be a do-it-yourself test.

Mayors of cities and towns on both sides of the border continue to protest the measure because of its logistical and economic burdens on travelers, which they believe deter the economic and social life of border communities from returning to normal.

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