Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep each other safe. The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping.
Currently, the Government of Canada recommending a 3-layered face mask.
Ontario has included mask use in the Reopening Ontario Act , 2020.
Mask use is mandatory for every individual who is in an enclosed area of a space that members of the public has access to. Masks are also mandatory for every enclosed area of a workplace or organization where employees cannot maintain 2 metres physical distance.
For more information, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200364
Proper material, structure and fit
A well-fitted, comfortable, and adjustable mask or face covering can prevent the spread of infectious respiratory droplets. Whether you purchase or make a mask or face covering at home, you should consider the materials used, how it’s made, and if it fits your face properly.
A mask or face covering should:
- Securely fit your head with ties or ear loops.
- Have at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen) and a third layer (middle) with a filter-type fabric (i.e. polypropylene fabric). Filters add an extra layer of protection.
- Be large enough to cover your nose.
- Your mask should fit your face, covering your nose, mouth and chin without gaping.
- Your mask should be comfortable, easy to breathe through, and not limit your vision.
- Choose fabric that can support a high temperature wash (e.g. cotton). Avoid stretchy material.
- Can be easily changed if damp or dirty.
- Maintain its shape after wash and dry.
For more information:
- How to make your own face mask, visit Non-medical masks and face coverings: Sew and no-sew instructions
- For more advice on 3-layered masks, visit this link.
Filters add an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 by trapping small infectious particles. Consider wearing a mask that includes a filter or filter material as one of its layers, made from a non-woven polypropylene fabric, which can be found as:
- a craft fabric
- the non-woven fabric that’s used to make some reusable shopping bags
- a disposable filter inserted into a pocket on the mask
Wearing a Mask
A mask or face covering is only effective if worn properly by the wearer. For instance, if you place the mask under your nose or mouth it does not offer the most protection from COVID-19. Here are some instructions on how to wear a mask properly.
- Before putting on your mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based (minimum 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
- Secure the elastic loops of the mask around your ears. If your mask has strings, tie them securely behind your head.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Do not touch the front of the mask while you wear it. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you accidentally touch your mask.
Cleaning your Mask
Reusable masks with a non-woven filter layer should be washed daily, and can be washed multiple times. Disposable filters should be changed daily or as directed by the manufacturer.
- Your mask or face covering should be cleaned if it becomes soiled or damp as required.
- Wash wet or dirty masks right away before they grow mould or mildew.
- Put your mask or face covering directly in the washing machine on hot cycle and dry it thoroughly. If you prefer to wash by hand, use soap and warm/hot water and allow it to dry before wearing it.
- Any kind of non-medical mask that can’t be washed should be disposed in a lined garbage.
- Single-use mask should not be reused.
Storing your Mask
When your mask or face covering is not being used make sure it is placed in a waterproof bag or container until it is ready for a wash. This keeps you mask or face covering clean when not in use, or when eating or drinking.
What to Avoid
- Don’t share non-medical masks or face coverings with others.
- Don’t use non-medical masks or face coverings that impair vision or interfere with tasks.
- Don’t place a non-medical mask or face covering on children under the age of 2.
- Don’t use non-medical masks or face coverings made of non-breathable materials.
- Don’t secure non-medical masks or face coverings with tape or other inappropriate materials.
- Don’t use non-medical masks or face coverings made of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues.
- Don’t place a non-medical mask or face covering on anyone:
- who is unable to remove it without assistance.
- who has trouble breathing.
For more information, COVID-19: How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering
Cloth masks do not replace personal protective equipment (PPE) required in workplace settings. The Reopening Ontario Act requires mask use, including by employees, in all indoor settings.
- A face shield is not an alternative to masks as it does not protect others from your respiratory particles. A face shield may be worn with a mask as added protection for the wearer.
- Plastic masks do not protect others from your respiratory particles and cannot be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
- Masks with an exhaust valve can make breathing more comfortable for the person wearing it, but it can spread respiratory particles into the room.