Ontario's health minister said today that the province will not immediately follow other jurisdictions in dropping its vaccine passport system, while the mask mandate will also remain in place “for some time to come.”
Christine Elliott said that the province will lift its Directive 2, which ordered hospitals to halt non-urgent surgeries, "in the coming days," and begin a "gradual and cautious" resumption of non-urgent or non-emergent surgeries and procedures.
Several provinces have recently announced their plans to end their COVID-19 vaccine passport programs and other pandemic restrictions.
Elliott did not respond directly when asked whether Ontario will move to reduce the need or eliminate vaccine passports before March 14, saying "we are willing to change if necessary" based on the number of hospitalizations and recommendations from the province's chief medical officer of health.
"We are looking at the evidence on a daily basis as well. The trends are going in a good direction now, but we can't sit back on our laurels and assume that it's going to always continue," Elliott said.
"We are not telling the people of Ontario that this [policy] is going to remain in place forever. No. But we're not in the clear just yet. And so we need to continue to protect Ontarians, protect each other, with the [vaccine] passports and with the masks at this point."