Skip to main content

Pembroke, Ont. hospital lifts mandatory mask policy in non-clinical areas

The Pembroke Regional Hospital is seen in this undated image. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa) The Pembroke Regional Hospital is seen in this undated image. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)

The Pembroke Regional Hospital says it is lifting its mandatory mask policy for non-clinical areas.

Effective Tuesday, patients, staff and visitors will no longer be required to wear masks in areas such as hallways, elevators, stairwells, the cafeteria, and outdoor common areas. Masks are also no longer mandatory in the Sunshine Gift Shop and the Mural Café.

The hospital says masks will remain easily accessible to anyone who wants to continue wearing them in these areas if they choose.

Masks remain mandatory in clinical areas and waiting areas. A medical grade mask must be put on and worn at all times in the waiting area, waiting rooms, while attending outpatient appointments and as indicated on the clinical unit.

Hospital president and CEO Sabine Mersmann called the change "an exciting step" in the hospital's pandemic recovery journey.

"We appreciate that the last three years have been challenging and we want to thank everyone for their patience, understanding and cooperation as we navigated the various restrictions that had to be put in place. While we will continue to monitor and adjust our policies as appropriate and in line with public health recommendations, it’s great to be in a position where we can give people the opportunity to stop doing something," Mersmann said in a news release.

This comes weeks after hospitals in Almonte and Carleton Place lifted mask requirements in non-patient areas. Other hospitals around Ontario have also been removing masking requirements.

While hospital presidents have referred to the change as "exciting", some doctors are still encouraging mask use as much as possible as a way to curb the spread of not only COVID-19, but other respiratory illnesses such as influenza and RSV.

The Ottawa Hospital still requires everyone entering one of its sites to wear a mask. Masks are mandatory in clinical areas of the Queensway Carleton Hospital and the Montfort Hospital. At CHEO, masks must be worn at all times in the Emergency Department. In the rest of CHEO, masks are worn at all times except when family members are in their child or youth's patient environment and no one else is there.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer considered a global health emergency. Top Stories

Stay Connected