Toronto – The City of Toronto will continue to follow provincial guidance on face masks and will lift masking requirement for visitors in most City facilities when most provincial masking regulations are lifted on Monday, March 21.
Following Province of Ontario guidance, starting next week masks will no longer be required in settings such as retail stores, bars, restaurants, gyms, community centres or museums. Masks will continue to be mandatory in high-risk and congregate settings including on public transit, in long-term care and retirement homes, health-care settings and shelters.
The City supports the choice by visitors to City facilities where masks are not required to remain masked, should they prefer.
Following the Province’s removal of mandatory masking requirements in most settings, the following City services and facilities will be impacted starting next week:
City buildings and civic centres
Masks will no longer be required when visiting City buildings and civic centres. This includes St. Lawrence Market, Toronto History Museums, Waste Drop-Off Depots, City Hall, Metro Hall, North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, Etobicoke Civic Centre, York Civic Centre and East York Civic Centre. Masks are not required in City Council and Committee meetings. Masks will be optional at all Toronto Public Library branches.
Community centres and recreational programs
Based on the provincial changes, masks will no longer be required when visiting a community centre or when participating in a City recreational program or activity. This applies to all City community recreation centres and after-school recreation care programs.
Public transit and Union Station
Following provincial regulation, masks will continue to be required on public transit including in stations and vehicles on the TTC, GO, UP Express and VIA Rail (under federal regulations). Starting next week, masks will not be required inside the non-transit related areas in Union Station, however, other public health and safety practices will continue to be encouraged.
Long-term care homes
As per provincial regulation, mask requirements will continue in all of the City’s directly-operated long-term care homes. Up-to-date information about City’s long-term care homes including visiting requirements is available on the City’s website.
Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA)
Following provincial regulation, masks will continue to be required in shelters. The current Toronto Shelter Standards directive on mask and personal protective equipment use for shelters is available on the City’s website.
City of Toronto Children’s Services
The City’s Children’s Services division is continuing to work with Toronto Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety to determine any updates to policies that would ensure the health and safety of staff and children in care in City-operated child care centres while following provincial direction. Any change to policy will be communicated to families and staff in advance. Until this time, masks will continue to be worn by child care staff when interacting with children, their families and other staff.
Mask policy for City staff
Following provincial direction, from March 21 through April 26 masks will continue to be required while delivering essential critical care services in highest-risk settings, including for Paramedics and Fire Services and in long-term care homes and shelters. In all other circumstances, employees are not required to wear a mask but may choose to wear a mask in any settings they wish and will be supported in doing so.
The City has effectively engaged the public through virtual methods throughout the pandemic. Scheduled public consultations will remain virtual with new consultations taking a virtual, hybrid or in-person approach that will be most effective in reaching the target audience in an equitable way.
In addition to the upcoming provincial changes to mandatory masking, last week, Toronto City Council amended the Mask Bylaw (541-2020, as amended by 664-2020), so that it expires when the Province lifts most masking requirements on March 21. The recommendation came from Dr Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, following a careful analysis of Toronto’s local context. At the same time, Council affirmed its support for residents to choose to wear a mask, even in the absence of regulations requiring mask wearing. More information about this can be found in this news release.
Earlier this month, the Province lifted many remaining public health measures implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as proof of vaccination requirements for all settings where provincial vaccination directives were in place and all remaining indoor capacity limits. The Ontario government also intends to lift remaining mask requirements on April 27.
The City’s online COVID-19: Guide for Residents will be updated to reflect the provincial regulation changes coming next week.
The latest information about City services that continue to be impacted by COVID-19 is available on the COVID-19: Changes to City Services webpage.
The City, together with Toronto Public Health (TPH), continue to encourage residents to receive a first, second and third dose of COVID-19 vaccine when eligible, to continue to make mindful choices in relation to COVID-19 exposure and to practice the measures for self-protection. Information about where to get vaccinated is available on the City’s COVID-19: Where to Get Vaccinated webpage.