Handmade patterned and cat patterned fabric face masks for virus contagion protection - stock photo

This Version Posted: November 21, 2022

A well-fitted mask/face covering provides an added layer of protection against COVID-19. It is strongly recommended to wear masks at indoor public settings, including schools and childcare centres, in an effort to combat COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

While masks are no longer required in most indoor public settings in Ontario, they must still be worn in long-term care homes and retirement homes and if you are recovering from COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 symptoms. Some hospitals and health care settings also continue to require masks be worn by people accessing their services. It’s best to check ahead to see what rules may be in place.

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Medical Masks and Respirators (N95):
close up White protective hygenic mask isolated backgrounds for doctors and patient from virus biological infection and PM2.5 dust, pandemic news

Respirators and medical masks are more effective and provide extra protection than non-medical masks to stop the spread of tiny droplets when you cough or sneeze.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends the use of medical masks for:

  • People who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19 (these individuals should also consider using a respirator mask).
  • People who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their living situation (these people should also consider using a respirator mask).

Masks should be worn properly and disposed/removed safely. If you need to wear a mask, be sure to clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When using a mask, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet for more information.

Homemade (Cloth) Masks:

If a medical mask or respirator is unavailable, consider using a well-constructed and well-fitting non-medical mask. The effectiveness of non-medical masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 can vary based on material, construction, fit and proper use.

If well fitting and worn properly, the Public Health Agency of Canada says some non-medical masks can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But it’s important that non-medical masks have the following:

  • Have multiple layers, including at least two layers of breathable, tightly-woven fabric (such as cotton) and
  • An effective middle filter layer made of a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene.

Wearing a face mask in public places, together with washing your hands with soap and water, staying home and maintaining physical distancing, are all important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Additional Resources