The Ontario government is set to drop its proof of vaccination system at the onset of March, and it is also moving up the next phase of COVID-19 reopening plans to this Thursday.
The province announced in a Monday news release that even though the government is getting rid of the vaccine passport system, businesses and other areas might decide to continue to require vaccination for entry or participation.
While masking requirements are still set to remain in place, all capacity limits in gyms, cinemas, bars, and restaurants, will be removed on Thursday, which was originally supposed to take effect on February 21.
“Like all of you I’ve waited a long time for this news, but please never doubt that the steps we took together, as difficult as they were, were absolutely necessary and saved tens of thousands of lives,” said Premier Doug Ford at a Monday morning news conference.
Ford added it has “always been our objective” to remove the public health measures. “The extraordinary measures that we introduced during this pandemic were always intended as a last resort. I stood at this very podium and promised you that these tools would only be used for as long as they were absolutely necessary and not one day longer,” Ford continued.
He added that since hospitalizations have continued to decrease substantially, the province no longer needs to require three doses of vaccine for any kind of passport system.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, and I’m confident if we keep going down this path, there won’t be a reason for it,” he said. Still, according to Ford, a vaccine mandate for staff members and visitors in long-term care facilities will stay in place.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CBC NEWS