Many Ontarians may have forgotten that mask requirements are still in effect in certain areas of the province, but Ontario’s top doctor says almost all remaining mask mandates will be ending as of midnight tomorrow. 

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, has confirmed that mask requirements in high-risk public settings like healthcare settings, shelters, public transit and jails will expire as of 12 a.m. June 11.

However, mandatory mask mandates will remain in long-term care homes and retirement homes, and masking continues to be strongly recommended in shelters and group homes. Ontario did not specify when mask mandates may end in these settings.

“Thanks to the efforts of all Ontarians following public health measures and getting vaccinated we have made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Moore.

“However, I want to remind Ontarians to stay home when sick and, most importantly, get vaccinated and boosted if eligible. Staying up to date with vaccination is the best protection against severe outcomes and will help us maintain the progress we have made.”

Dr. Moore adds that while mask requirements are ending, organizations may implement their own policies and residents should continue to wear a mask if they feel it is right for them, are at high risk for severe illness, are recovering from COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Moore notes that Ontario is continuing to monitor the provincial COVID-19 situation and will adjust if needed to new variants of concern.

In the region, the Northwestern Health Unit is reporting a total of 329 active cases of COVID-19 in their catchment area, primarily made up of 288 cases in Sioux Lookout’s on-reserve catchment area. Other cases include 11 in Kenora and 19 in Sioux Lookout’s off-reserve area.

The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority says Pikangikum First Nation has 218 active cases in the virus as of June 8, with 18 cases in Sandy Lake, 49 in North Caribou Lake and 40 in Cat Lake First Nation.