After imposing some of the toughest restrictions in Canada, the province of Ontario has announced that it will lift mask mandates on March 21 and remove all remaining restrictions by the end of the month.
The province said improving health indicators, such as a stable COVID-19 test positivity rate and declining hospitalizations, as well as Ontario’s high vaccination rates and the availability of antiviral treatments, allowed for these steps.
“We are now learning to live with and manage COVID-19 for the long term,” said Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore. “This necessitates a shift to a more balanced response to the pandemic.”
However, Moore said removing the mask mandate “does not mean the risk is gone.”
“We will closely, carefully monitor COVID-19 trends across the province. We will not hesitate to take action should the situation change and we will inform Ontarians of any significant developments,” he said.
Will the Ontario government hesitate to re-introduce lockdowns, vaccine passports and travel restrictions again if an arbitrary number of people catch a future variant of COVID-19? Only time will tell, but this is something all Canadians should be weary of and, sadly, prepared for.
(Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)