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Why are we keeping our masking requirements?

Effective June 28, 2023 - Wearing a mask is still required in some areas of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Under additional guidance from the province and the Toronto Region COVID-19 Hospital Operations Table, Sunnybrook is relaxing universal masking in most public areas. Wearing a mask is still required when in direct contact with patients or residents, or in a space where they are cared for or may gather. This is to continue to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-related complications.

Updated June 28, 2023:

With COVID-19 public health measures easing in Ontario, patients and families have asked us why we are continuing to require masking while visiting the hospital. Sunnybrook’s Infection Prevention and Control team answers your questions.

COVID-19 is no longer a state of emergency, why are you still requiring visitors to wear a mask when visiting their loved ones?

While the state of emergency around the COVID pandemic is over, COVID is endemic and a virus that is not seasonal, which means it will continue to circulate in our community year-round. At Sunnybrook, we care for some of the most vulnerable patients in Ontario. Respiratory illnesses like COVID and influenza could be life-threatening for many of the patients we care for. What we learned throughout the pandemic is that continued masking helps to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses that pose a serious health risk to our most vulnerable patients and residents.

As always, our policies are continually revaluated based on current evidence and guidance, and we aim to be in alignment with other healthcare organizations in the Toronto area.

When will you change the requirements?

Together with our peers at other Toronto hospitals, we are continuously monitoring community spread of COVID-19, along with other respiratory viruses. I understand how much we want to get ‘back to normal’ but COVID-19 continues to be a serious illness. Protective measures, like wearing a mask while in contact with our patients, will help keep everyone safe.

How can I ensure I keep myself, and my hospitalized family member, safe?

Get vaccinated, including your booster, and wear a mask while visiting patients at the hospital. These steps are incredibly effective and will help protect your loved one.

I’ve been sick. When can I visit?

Do not visit until you have been free of symptoms for at least 24 hours (48 hours for vomiting and/or diarrhea).

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 10 days (including the patient you are visiting), do not visit our patients or residents. Exposed means you spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of the person who has tested positive with COVID-19, and you weren’t wearing a mask.

Learn more about accessing free rapid antigen tests »