Masks or Face Coverings

Masking

COVID-19 is still circulating widely and remains a potentially serious illness. Masking continues to be recommended in settings where there are individuals who are at high risk for severe outcomes and is required in long-term care homes and retirement homes.

In settings where masking is not required, wearing a mask is a personal choice. 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 implement their own rules and policies related to masking within their settings.

When to wear a mask

Masks are required in long-term care and retirement homes.

You should wear a mask at all times when you are outside your home and in public places (including school and child care, unless under two years of age) if you:

  • are recovering from COVID-19 symptoms and are no longer isolating for 10 days from when your symptoms started
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms for 10 days from the positive test result
  • have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 symptoms and/or a positive test result for 10 days from last exposure

For more information, please see

Public health measures and advice | Government of Ontario

COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings | Public Health Agency of Canada 

Frequently asked questions: Masks and other face coverings

How do masks/face coverings work?

Wearing a mask or face covering is a form of source protection. Source protection means that the person wearing the mask is less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. When other people wear a mask or face covering they are helping to protect you as well. 

Wearing a mask or face covering should not replace other protective measures including getting vaccinated, physical distancing, hand washing and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

More information about masks and face coverings can be found on the Province of Ontario's COVID-19 Face coverings and face masks page. 

What is the evidence supporting masks? Are masks safe to wear?

We do have accumulating epidemiological evidence that the widespread use of face coverings by all persons decreases the spread of respiratory droplets. Expert opinion supports the widespread use of face coverings to decrease transmission of COVID-19. Mask use in general is safe. Further information can be found in the resources below.

Resources:

What type of mask or face covering should I wear?

Information about masks and face coverings can be found on COVID-19 mask use: Advice for community settings | Public Health Agency of Canada and Face coverings and face masks | Province of Ontario

What is the proper way to use a mask or face covering?

Masks and face coverings must cover a person's nose, mouth and chin without gaping. 

Visit the Government of Canada's website for instructions on how to put on, remove and clean non-medical masks and face coverings. See also the poster on the do's and don'ts of wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.

Communicating with people who have a hearing impairment

Some people who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on lip reading to help understand verbal messages, and masks may create a barrier. Employees should keep an open mind when communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, particularly when wearing a mask, and let the person suggest their preferred way of communicating.

There may be situations where someone who is deaf or hard of hearing may require an employee to remove their mask or face covering to speak to the customer. We remind anyone removing their mask or face covering to follow safe handling procedures and to keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.

For more information: Face coverings and face masks | Province of Ontario