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Expert supports lifting restrictions but says it's too soon to ease mask mandates


Starting Tuesday, many businesses in Simcoe County will no longer be required to request proof of vaccination as the province further eases COVID-19 mandates, a move that one expert says will bring back a sense of normalcy.

"It will be good for our mental health and good for our emotional health and well-being," said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, former president of the Ontario Medical Association.

Dr. Gandhi says he is "hopeful" the decision won't result in a surge of cases as it appears the Omicron wave has peaked and adds, "we will see the positive effects of being back to normal."


While masking mandates remain in place, the province announced Monday that it could change soon, but no timeline was provided.

As much as Dr. Gandhi supports easing restrictions, he says now is not the time to remove the mask mandate and believes it should be the last restriction lifted.

"Because COVID is an airborne virus and is transmitted through the air," he explains. "I don't know that in a few weeks, we will be ready or not. We'll have to see then, but I certainly don't think we're ready today."


On Monday, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to get a PCR test upon arriving in Canada. Instead, they have the option of a rapid antigen test.

The antigen test must be administered by a laboratory, health care entity or telehealth service. At-home rapid antigen tests will not be accepted to enter the country.

Dr. Gandhi says that while not as accurate as a PCR test, the rapid tests are "pretty good" and will help during this stage of the pandemic.


Dr. Gandhi says to expect future COVID-19 variants to emerge, but preparations need to be underway to handle it.

"There will be future variants, and I think we need to accept that," Gandhi says. "We need to be aware of how to protect ourselves through good ventilation, and we need to consider the fact that going forward, we may need a different vaccine several months from now.

We don't know that yet, no one is sure, but that might be the case." Top Stories

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