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As of Saturday, no masks needed to board North Bay Transit buses

For the first time since 2020, riders will be permitted to use North Bay Transit without wearing a mask onboard
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Beginning Saturday, North Bay Transit will no longer require masks to be worn on its buses.

When the first North Bay Transit customers board their buses to their destinations Saturday morning, for the first time since 2020, they will be permitted to do so without wearing a mask onboard.

The City of North Bay confirms that as of midnight on June 11, it will be lifting the mask mandate for public transit in accordance with the provincial directive.

Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore approved the lifting of the remaining provincial masking requirements. To continue providing an additional layer of protection for the most vulnerable, masks will still be required in long-term care and retirement homes. Masking is recommended in higher-risk congregate living settings, such as shelters and group homes.

“With high vaccination rates and Ontario’s COVID-19 situation continuing to improve, most of the province’s remaining provincial masking requirements, including on public transit, will expire as of 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022."

In the early months of the pandemic, public health guidance on mask-wearing in public settings evolved from a recommendation to a mandate. Most mask mandates in public settings were lifted on March 21. The masking requirement in health-care settings, long-term care homes and on public transit was to expire on April 27 but the government extended it to June 11.

The remaining government directives will also be revoked and replaced with Ministry of Health guidance for health care workers and organizations on Saturday. This includes guidance on when masks should be worn in hospitals and other health care settings.

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit concurs with the Ministry of Health stating that, while masking requirements are expiring, organizations may implement their own policies and adds Ontarians should continue to wear a mask if they feel it is right for them, are at high risk for severe illness, recovering from COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Dr. Moore adds, "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. 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.

"The province will continue to monitor for any significant changes, including any new variants of concern, to ensure we are adapting our response to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians."