Wearing a mask or a face covering will no longer be required by order of the Chief Medical Officer of Health order in indoor areas of:
• Public transit including indoor areas and vehicles
• Hospitals, including private hospitals, and psychiatric facilities
• Other health care settings: o Clinics that provide health care services (doctors’ offices, other medical offices, Community Health Centres, public health/immunization clinics, mental health clinics, etc.) o Laboratories and specimen collection centres o Independent Health Facilities (e.g., dialysis, birth centres, nuclear medicine) o Employees and contractors of home and community care providers
• Long-term care homes
• Retirement homes 2
• Congregate care settings that provide care and services to medically and socially vulnerable individuals
Though no longer required under a Chief Medical Officer of Health Class Order, masking will continue to be required in long-term care homes and retirement homes through other mechanisms. In addition, acute care and congregate care/living settings guidance continues to recommend masking in these settings.
Businesses and organizations may implement their own rules and policies related to masking within their settings, and with consideration to available and relevant infection prevention and control guidance. However, they must follow any applicable laws (e.g., Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act) and should obtain independent legal advice should they consider doing so.
In settings without their own rules and policies related to masking, wearing one will become an individual or personal choice, and based on one’s individual risk assessment that will consider their own health status. Individuals are encouraged to wear a tightfitting, well-constructed mask if they feel it is the right choice for them.
People at higher risk for severe illness are encouraged to wear a mask for greater protection, particularly those who have not received all recommended doses of COVID19 vaccine.
We should all be prepared that we may need to resume a requirement for mask wearing in indoor public spaces if a new variant of concern emerges, or potentially during the winter months when COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are likely to circulate again.