Canada updates mask rules for fully vaccinated people

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask at small indoor gatherings with other fully vaccinated people.

The advice is part of updated guidance as the second-dose vaccine campaign around private gatherings, indoors and outdoors.

However, people must still wear masks and practise physical distancing in public settings as mandated by public health officials in provinces and cities.

The updated guidance comes as Canada’s second-dose vaccine campaign gathers steam. As of June 25, more than 24 per cent of Canadians have had two doses and more than 76 per cent have had one shot, according to COVID-19 Tracker Canada.

On Friday, health officials released a chart, as well as an online risk calculator, to help people who are planning or attending gatherings and events assess the the risks of catching COVID-19 as pandemic restrictions loosen.

In Ontario, up to five people will be permitted at indoor gatherings and public events when the province enters step 2 of the reopening plan. Outdoor gathering limits will be extended to 25.

At the same time, the fast-spreading Delta variant remains a concern. Though infection rates are falling in Canada, PHAC officials said data shows most cases are occurring in people who are not vaccinated or only have one dose.

The guidance is based on the setting or activity, and whether people are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or fully vaccinated.

For example, the chart states people who are fully vaccinated do not need to physically distance or wear masks at indoor or outdoor gatherings with other fully vaccinated individuals.

At an outdoor gathering of people who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated, no mask or physical distancing is necessary if “everyone is comfortable with that.”

However, if a mixed group of non-vaccinated and partially vaccinated people are having a small indoor gathering, such as a dinner party or TV night, they should consider removing their masks and being physically close to people who are fully vaccinated – assuming everyone is comfortable with that or no one is at a high risk of severe illness or death if they catch COVID-19.

The advice also says fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or physically distance at an outdoor gathering with people from multiple households who are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or with unknown vaccination status. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people should consider masking up and maintaining distance in the same circumstance.

At a private celebration or indoor party with people from different households, the government advises fully vaccinated people to follow the organizer’s rules, wear a mask if you are at risk of severe illness from COVID and keep windows and doors open.

At a large or crowded indoor or outdoor concert, sports event or house party, fully vaccinated people should consider wearing a mask even if not at risk of catching COVID, the advice states.

Read PHAC’s guidance chart for fully vaccinated people below:

Public health advice for fully vaccinated Canadians


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