Ontario’s proof of vaccination against COVID-19 system has come to an end and capacity limits have been dropped as of Tuesday.
The government said the two public health measures would be lifted as part of its reopening plan as the province inches closer to returning to life before the global pandemic began in March 2020.
Businesses do have the option of keeping proof of vaccination in place if they choose to do so, the government said.
Premier Doug Ford has also previously said the proof of vaccination requirement would be a temporary measure when it came into effect in September 2021.
Physical distancing requirements and indoor/outdoor social gathering limits have also been dropped.
However, masking in indoor public settings will remain in place.
Masking is one of the last remaining provincial measures that has not yet been eliminated.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said the mask mandate will be reviewed in the second or third week of March, allowing for data to be reviewed after the province lifts capacity limits and the proof of vaccination on March 1.
But for now, Moore said that the use of masks of face coverings will stay in place for “the time being.”
He also said when masks are removed from the general public space that they will also be removed for use in schools simultaneously.
Ford also hinted with similar comments on Monday, citing Moore, that “we aren’t far away” from lifting the mask mandate.
“What I’m hearing: over the next few weeks, maybe after March break when the kids get back, but we’ll see. I don’t want to set a date,” Ford said.
“There’s no secret — there isn’t a person I talk to (who) likes these masks. No one likes them. But I’m going to follow the advice and we aren’t far away.”
COVID-19 trends in Ontario have improved significantly since the peak of the Omicron wave. Hospitalizations, test positivity, deaths and wastewater singal have been on a downward trend for the last few weeks.
Among the aged 12 and older population, 90 per cent are fully vaccinated while 54 per cent are boosted.
— With files from Ryan Rocca