Ontario has lifted the mask mandate but not all Torontonians think the time is right. Students and teachers at East York Collegiate are conflicted.
On March 21, Ontario made the use of masks optional in certain settings optional: movie theaters, gyms, schools and retail operations. There are mixed reviews about the mask mandate being lifted however. Some people think that we’ve waited long enough and others think it’s too early to lift the mandate.
Stacy Reid, a teacher at East York Collegiate Institute, is one of those in favour of the mask mandate lifting for individuals who wish to continue wearing their masks. “I am in favour of the choice to mask and it should be entirely up to the individual.” Reid says.
“In many professions, the ability to articulate and communicate effectively is greatly hindered by the mask,” Reid says. “However, it is doable.”
Reid adamantly believes that those who choose to still wear the mas, have the right to do so.
“If individuals want to mask they should mask,” she says. “If individuals feel the need to mask because they feel ill, or are still not comfortable with this new mandate, or have members of their inner circle or family immunocompromised or are elderly, then they should have the option to mask”
Lily Gelissen, a Grade 12 student at the school, says she is worried about what life will be like without the mask.
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready to go back to school without a mask. I’m worried that the government is being too hasty and focusing on the political side of mask mandates instead of the health side,” Gelissen said. “Lots of hospitals, such as Sick Kids, have condemned this new decision. I will have to see how it goes week by week and how different businesses and institutions handle it.
She notes that lots of teens go out without masks but she isn’t sure the general public is ready to revert to maskless life.”
Ontario has had the mask mandate since Oct. 3, 2020. For almost two years Ontarians have lived with the regulations and restrictions until.
The change comes a few weeks after the province lifted proof of vaccination rules and capacity limits on indoor setting. Select settings such as public transit, health-care facilities, long-term care homes and congregate care settings will keep mask mandates until the end of April, when the province plans to put an end to all remaining public health rules.
The government is also planning to lift all restrictions by Apr. 27 as part of their plan to live with the virus.