COVID-19: Mask mandate removal worries immunocompromised Ontario residents

Click to play video: 'Mask mandate removal worries immunocompromised Ontarians' Mask mandate removal worries immunocompromised Ontarians
WATCH ABOVE: Doing away with the mask mandate is good news for some, but for others, it’s cause for real concern. Shallima Maharaj reports. – Mar 11, 2022

With less than two weeks to go before Ontario lifts its longstanding mask mandate, immunocompromised Canadians have been raising their concerns.

Katie German has been navigating motherhood and life during a global health pandemic.

She is required to take medication to relieve symptoms of a chronic illness. It also weakens her immune system.

“I can’t stop taking it. That’s not an option,” she told Global News on Friday. “Knowing that other people were wearing masks was one of the last measures of safety that I had.”

Read more: Ontario lifts mask mandate in most settings March 21, all directives to drop by April 27

She’s been limiting outdoor activities and taking necessary precautions for her health. In the past two months, German said she has visited her parents, gone to a doctor’s appointment, and picked up a coffee she pre-ordered.

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On Wednesday, the province’s chief medical officer of health announced the government would be lifting the mask mandate for many indoor spaces on March 21.

As part of the province’s plan to learn to live with COVID-19, masks will no longer be a must at most settings, including restaurants, gyms, and large event spaces. However, they will remain mandatory in higher-risk settings, such as transit, long-term care, hospitals, jails, and congregate care settings.

“Nothing is opening up for us,” said German. “In fact, it is becoming less safe for us to be out with our friends and family, and community.”

Read more: Ontario’s top doctor to provide update Wednesday on ‘plan to live with’ COVID-19

Premier Doug Ford was asked what he would say to immunocompromised Ontarians about the path forward during a news conference Friday.

“I’d say keep your mask on. That’s going to be an option. That’s the direction we’ve received from Dr. [Kieran] Moore,” Ford said.

For Katie German, it doesn’t just boil down to mask or no mask.

“We don’t have to think of it as either we keep the restrictions we have, or we drop them, and that’s it. There’s lots that our government could be doing and there’s lots of money they’re choosing not to spend and instead have people kind of pitted against each other talking about whether they should drop the mask mandate or not.”

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ford encourages those concerned with lifting of mask mandate to continue wearing them' COVID-19: Ford encourages those concerned with lifting of mask mandate to continue wearing them
COVID-19: Ford encourages those concerned with lifting of mask mandate to continue wearing them – Mar 11, 2022

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