OTTAWA — As of March 1, the province of Ontario will no longer require people show proof of vaccination to enter any indoor spaces, the premier, Doug Ford, announced on Monday morning.
In a call with reporters, Mr. Ford said that the change in public policy to rescind the so-called vaccine pass was based on the diminishing number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and was not a concession to the demonstrators who have camped out in trucks around Parliament Hill; choked international trade by blockading a key border crossing in Windsor, Ontario; and inspired copycat protests around the country and world.
“Let me be very clear: We’re moving in this direction because it’s safe to do so,’’ Mr. Ford said. “Today’s announcement is not because of what’s happening in Ottawa, or Windsor, but despite it.”
Starting Feb. 17, indoor capacity limits in the province will be loosened, and some outdoor gathering limits lifted entirely, Mr. Ford said. Mask mandates, however, will remain in place “a little while longer,” he said, adding he made the decision in consultation with his minister of health.
A central demand of the protesters has been the lifting of a mandate that requires truckers who cross the border into the United States to be vaccinated to re-enter Canada. That requirement can only be set or rolled back by the federal government.
As Mr. Ford made his announcement, horns erupted in the Ottawa morning from the trucker encampment.
Guy Meister, a trucker from Aylesford, Nova Scotia, who has been camped in his truck outside Canada’s Parliament since the occupation began, said that he did not trust Mr. Ford’s word. He had brought to Ottawa a black-and-white checkered flag, the kind waved over the victor at car races, he said, to fly from his truck when he felt his demands were met.
“We are only here to stop the mandate,” Mr. Meister said. “If they stop the mandate, then I’ll fly it.”