Ontario has laid out its plans to lift remaining COVID-19 public health measures, including mandatory masks and workplace vaccination policies, by the end of April. Here’s a look at what’s changing and when:
Close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19 infections or symptoms don’t need to isolate if the person lives outside their household. It’s still recommended that they wear masks outside their home for 10 days and avoid high-risk settings.
Those with household members who are COVID-19 positive or have symptoms do not need to isolate if they are 18 and older and have received a booster dose, or if they are 18 and under with two vaccine doses or had an infection in the past 90 days.
Vaccination policies will no longer be required in hospitals, long-term care homes, schools and child-care settings.
That means vaccination won’t be mandatory for long-term care workers at that point, and employers in the other sectors will no longer have to require that workers get vaccinated or regularly tested for the virus.
The province says it will keep providing rapid-antigen virus tests and employers can keep their own vaccination policies.
Mask mandates will end in most places including schools and child-care settings.
Masks will still be required in long-term care homes, retirement homes, health-care settings, jails, shelters, congregate living settings and on public transit.
Pandemic measures like cohorting and on-site symptom screening will end in schools.
Businesses will not be subject to regulatory requirements like COVID-19 safety plans and screening.
The province says it will still send rapid tests and personal protective equipment to schools and businesses, and ventilation and absence reporting will remain in schools.
The Reopening Ontario Act will expire, meaning Premier Doug Ford can’t use that legislation to issue new pandemic management orders.
Remaining orders under the act will last for another month, but after that the province can’t renew them again.
Essentially all public health measures against COVID-19 will end.
Masks will no longer be required in long-term care homes, retirement homes, health-care settings, jails, shelters, congregate living settings and on public transit.
Directives from the chief medical officer of health will expire.
Those expiring orders include the requirement that health-care workers wear fit-tested N95 masks and other personal protective equipment when working with COVID-19 patients, that hospitals and long-term care homes provide those masks and that hospitals accommodate patient transfers and resource sharing.
Also expiring are orders laying out requirements for long-term care homes around screening, outbreak preparedness, personal protective equipment and physical distancing, and high quality mask requirements for paramedics.
Remaining orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, mostly involving the redeployment of health workers, will expire. That means people can no longer be fined for violating those orders.