Toronto’s mask bylaw will expire when most of the provincial masking regulations are lifted later this month, the city says.
At a meeting on Wednesday, Toronto city council amended bylaw 541-2020 so that it will expire on March 21 – the same day the provincial government will lift masking requirements in most public settings.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the city said masks will continue to be mandatory in high-risk and congregate settings including public transit, long-term care and retirement homes, health-care settings, congregate care settings and shelters and jails under provincial regulation.
Before it was amended, the bylaw was set to expire on April 8.
The release said council also “affirmed their support for residents to choose to wear a mask, even in the absence of regulations requiring mask wearing.”
Members also requested that the city’s top doctor, Eileen de Villa, continue to “regularly engage with the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario to review Toronto’s local epidemiology” and to discuss mask use and other infection protection and control measures.
According to the release, de Villa recommended the bylaw be amended in a report delivered to council, after a “careful analysis of Toronto’s local context.”
“The COVID-19 Omicron wave in Toronto has peaked and is now subsiding across a range of indicators, including cases and test-positivity rate,” the release reads. “Health system capacity indicators, such as hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continue to decline.”
The city said “thanks to world-leading vaccination rates” Toronto now has “high levels of immunity.”
The news from Toronto comes after the province announced it would be lifting the COVID-19 mask mandate in many indoor public settings beginning March 21.
According to the province, while masking requirements will be removed “in most places” later this month, but will remain in some high-risk settings.
The province’s plan says masking requirements in “all remaining settings” will be removed on April 27.
However, the plan released by the Ford government on Wednesday said that as directives are revoked, “individual organizations will continue to have the authority to keep requirements in place.”
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