Amid widespread “Freedom Convoy” protests over vaccine mandates throughout Canada, Ontario’s top doctor says that a timeline for lifting every COVID-19 measure in the province is in the works. It could be ready as early as next week.
Speaking at a Thursday media briefing, Dr. Kieran Moore was asked when the public can expect an update on when measures, including mask mandates and vaccine passports, will be lifted.
Ontario’s previous timeline on lifting some public measures had an estimate of March 14, but masking and proof of vaccinations were not part of that timeline and have yet to be given.
“We will be reviewing the evidence and as I said today, the evidence is showing we’re making remarkable improvement in all of the key metrics in Ontario and that forces us to review all public health measures that are in play,” Moore said, per Global News.
“None of them are expected to remain in play longer than they need to be and/or have a benefit to protect Ontarians,” he added. “So we are reviewing all of them in the coming days and anticipate we will make recommendations to government as soon as next week.”
Moore stated that the government will offer “greater clarity” for Ontario residents regarding the measures to scale back the restrictions, with a timeline for the removal of “all public health measures,” adding that the move will be done in a “graded, cautious manner, which has been the cornerstone of Ontario’s approach.”
Moore suggested that masking will likely remain in place for schoolchildren and public transport, at least for a while, noting that the pandemic situation is now “different” than when the measures first came into effect.
“And with this in mind, we are looking at the plan to consider when we can recommend to government what additional measures can be eased,” he said. “This includes keeping our masks on for a while longer and with high vaccine coverage in the population, planning for when proof of vaccination can be discontinued.”
Moore stressed that the decisions will be based “on the best evidence.”
In addition to the lifting of restrictions, Ontario announced on Thursday it was officially lifting a directive that paused surgeries and procedures that were put in place to limit hospital intake.