DAN CEARNS, The Standard

NORTH DURHAM/ KAWARTHA: The Ontario provincial government is leaving a couple of masking requirements in place while letting others expire.

On Wednesday, June 8th, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced in a press release, the government would be letting “most of the province’s remaining provincial masking requirements” expire, as of Saturday, June 11th.

Masking requirements on public transit have been lifted, and requirements at hospitals and other healthcare spaces will also expire.

“On June 11th, 2022, remaining directives will also be revoked and replaced, with Ministry of Health guidance for health care workers and organizations. This includes guidance on when masks should be worn in hospitals and other health care settings,” the press release explained.

While these will no longer be required provincially, the provincial government is allowing organizations to “implement their own policies.”

The province is also leaving a couple of masking requirements in place for the time being.

“To continue providing an additional layer of protection for the most vulnerable, masks will still be required in long-term care and retirement homes. Masking is recommended in higher-risk congregate living settings, such as shelters and group homes,” the press release stated.

In a statement, emailed to The Standard, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s (HKPR) Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, provided her input on these changes.

“Many hospitals are being proactive and will keep their masking rules in place for now. The provincial decision, to end most remaining mask use mandates, is not surprising, given, the bulk of COVID-19-related restrictions in Ontario has been lifted in recent months, due to high vaccination rates and decreasing virus activity. That said, you should still be COVID-19 aware and continue taking precautions because the virus is still present in our communities. Proper, tight-fitting masks provide an easy and effective layer of protection against COVID-19 for yourself and others.”