Updated March 3, 2023
When to wear a mask
The COVID‐19 virus is mainly spread from person to person by small virus-containing droplets that are exhaled when an infected person is speaking, singing, coughing, sneezing or breathing.
Well-fitting masks are an effective form of personal protective equipment, forming a barrier from getting and spreading respiratory infections.
They are effective because they help to prevent the person with COVID-19 from breathing out virus-containing droplets and they also help to protect the person who does not have COVID-19 from breathing in virus-containing droplets and particles.
People with medical vulnerabilities should continue to wear masks if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Although masks are not required in all indoor settings or outdoors, the virus does spread in crowded settings, which is why it is important to wear masks in crowded places (indoors and outdoors) where you cannot maintain an appropriate physical distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from others who are not from your own household or whose immunisation status is unknown.
Also, businesses may prefer to continue to require face masks be worn by people seeking to enter their premises and or to receive services. This is permitted.
Should you have a mask policy?
Yes. The Ministry of Health recommends that every business owner or operator, club, event venue, school, etc., have a clear policy regarding mask wearing for their premises. Your mask policy can apply to either your staff or your customers or both. The law allows the business to set their own policy and refuse service to those who do not comply.
The pandemic is not over, and the public health emergency is ongoing. Unfortunately, 40% of COVID-19 cases have no symptoms, and the symptoms which are experienced are easily confused with allergies, the flu or common cold, making it difficult to identify. The virus is also easily spread from person to person, even from someone who has no symptoms. Positive cases among staff and customers impacts the ability of organisations and businesses to function. As we learn to live safely with Covid, it is important for owners to assess the risks to their staff and customers, and develop an appropriate mask policy which puts safety first.
Children and Face Coverings
Mask wearing is particularly important when a more severe strain of the Covid-19 virus is spreading in the community. Face masks are simple barriers that help to prevent the wearer from spreading germs to others.
Check with your school to find out its current mask policy. Information on the school phases as they relate to mask wearing can be found here. Scroll down to Department of Education Protocols and click on “Phases for Living Safely with COVID within Schools”.
As a reminder, masks must be worn by all students on public transportation and minibuses.
How to wear a mask
For most of us, wearing a mask or face covering is new and we’re not used to the feeling. If it is a bit stuffy, you are probably wearing it right! And the most important thing is NOT TO TOUCH the mask/face covering. Once it is on, leave it on while you are out in public e.g. grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
To wear a mask properly you must:
- Wear your mask so it comes all the way up, close to the bridge of your nose, and all the way down under your chin.
- Do your best to tighten the loops or ties so it’s snug around your face, without gaps
Download the Dos and Don'ts face covering (Mask) Flyer
How to use a mask
The cloth face coverings (masks) are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
- To safely remove a used cloth face covering, you should be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hand immediately after removing.
- A washing machine should be enough to properly wash a cloth face covering
- The cloth face covering should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use
Download the Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 Flyer
Review guidance in the graphic below or here: Suitable COVID-19 Masks
Ways to Increase Mask Protection
Review guidance in the graphics below or here: Ways to Increase Mask Protection
- Do's and Do Nots of Wearing Masks
- Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 Flyer