This is what Doug Ford said about whether mask mandates will return in Ontario

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday that he is encouraging Ontario residents to wear a mask whenever they are in a situation that is less safe, but stopped short of committing to any sort of renewal of mask mandates in the province.

“We said from day one, I’ll always listen to Dr. Moore’s advice and the advice he’s giving everyone, I’ll give them the same thing; wear a mask when you can when you’re within risk.”

Ford made the comment at an announcement about the building of a new highway near Bradford Wednesday morning in response to a question about whether the province might consider re-implementing masking in education settings.

The premier would not say whether the government might entertain bringing back masks in schools, but reiterated the latest advice from Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore and also encouraged people to go get their flu shots and their COVID-19 booster shots.

“Get your flu shot, get a (COVID-19 shot) too,” Ford said. “I’m going to head out there, get my fourth one, get a flu shot because I can’t chance it, old guys like me. We’re gonna get a shot just to be safe.”

The question about a possible return to masking in schools comes as doctors worn about a “perfect storm” of increasing respiratory illness as school resumes and people start spending more time indoors for the winter.

At a meeting Tuesday of Toronto’s Board of Health, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city is continuing to follow the provincial guidelines around masking, but remains ready to implement masking guidelines for schools if conditions shift.

A number of experts have been calling for a return to mask mandates in some settings as respiratory illnesses increase, especially in light of overcrowding at hospital emergency departments.

There are currently few settings in the province where masks are still mandatory.

This is a developing news story. More information to come. 

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