Face Coverings

Please visit the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage for current information on face covering guidance and recommendations. 

Wearing a mask is an important way to protect yourself and others. The Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends wearing masks in indoor areas of public settings.

Regardless of where you are, you are encouraged to wear a tight-fitting, well constructed mask if you feel it is the right choice for you. Businesses and organizations may also choose to implement their own rules related to masking.

For more information on face coverings or masks and how to properly fit or clean your mask, please visit the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage, or see the Public Health Ontario evidence brief on the Use of masks in Non-Health Care Workplace Settings to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19.

When you have to wear a mask

Wearing a mask is an important way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. For information on where masking is required in select indoor settings, please see face coverings and face masks. For information on by-law enforcement of face coverings, please see the Region of Waterloo’s face covering by-law webpage.

When you have to wear a mask:

  • If you are recovering from COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 symptoms.

To help stop the spread, you should wear a mask at all times when outside your home in public spaces (including school and child care, unless under 2 years of age), when:

  • you are recovering from COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
  • you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you are at higher risk of severe illness

People at higher risk for severe illness are encouraged to wear a mask for greater protection, particularly those who have not received all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including:

  • people who are older
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • people who are pregnant or have recently given birth
How to Properly Use Masks

To learn about face coverings or masks and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19, please visit the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage. 

When layered with other recommended public health measures, a well-constructed, well-fitting and properly worn mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information on how to layer protection from COVID-19, please visit How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19.

Mask Fit

Masks Should:
  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • maintain their shape and integrity after washing and drying (for re-usable masks)
  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen) and should have a third, middle layer of filter-type fabric
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

For information on how to improve the fit of your mask, please visit COVID-19 mask use: How to make your mask fit properly. The Government of Canada’s infographic on improving mask fit also contains information on how to make your mask fit properly. Additional information on how to choose, use and care for a mask can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Please see the Public Health Ontario evidence brief on the Use of masks in Non-Health Care Workplace Settings to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 for additional workplace information.

Face Covering FAQs

Who should wear a face covering?
Residents are encouraged to wear a mask in public indoor settings. For information on masking requirements, visit the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage. For information on what you need to do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and how to care for someone who has it, refer to COVID-19: Stop the spread.

Who should not wear a face mask or covering?

Residents are encouraged to wear a mask in public indoor settings. For information on masking requirements and exemptions, visit the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage.

Will a face covering protect me from COVID-19?

Masking is an evidence informed intervention to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Especially when layered with other recommended public health measures, a well-constructed, well-fitting and properly worn mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information on how to layer protection from COVID-19, please visit How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19.  

Do I have to show proof I am exempt?

In settings that require you to wear a mask (see face coverings and face masks), there are some situations when you do not need to wear one. You do not need medical documentation in some scenarios, refer to the Ministry of Health’s face coverings and face masks webpage for more information. 

 

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