Masks or Face Coverings

Ontario is now focusing on living with, and managing, COVID-19. This means that businesses, organizations and individuals must make their own decisions on how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. 

COVID-19 continues to circulate and remains a potentially serious illness. The following groups are at higher risk of severe outcomes (long COVID, hospitalization or death) from COVID-19:

  • People of advanced age
  • People living in congregate settings
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • People who are unvaccinated

Removing the mask mandate does not mean the risk is gone. COVID-19 transmission is still occurring across the province, and masks can help protect you and others from becoming infected with COVID-19.

For more information on evidence for face coverings, please see "What is the evidence supporting masks?" below.

Where do I still need to wear a mask?

Settings still under provincial mask requirements

The following settings will continue to have mask requirements until June 11, 2022:

  • Long term care/retirement homes
  • Hospitals, including private hospitals and psychiatric facilities
  • Other health care settings, including clinics that provide health care services
  • Shelters, jails, and congregate care and living settings including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Public transit, including indoor areas and vehicles, but excluding businesses or organizations that provide sightseeing or touring services

Maintaining mask and face covering requirements will provide additional protection in these specific settings and environments where individuals who are, or may be, at increased risk of severe outcomes are in close contact for extended periods of time.

Please refer to Ontario's Face Coverings and Face Masks for updated requirements on face coverings. 

Situations requiring masks for a limited time

There will still be instances where individuals are required to wear masks for a limited amount of time including:

Settings/events choosing to continue mask requirements

Some settings and/or events may choose to ask visitors to wear masks as well.

When to Consider Wearing a Mask

When layered with other recommended public health measures, a well-constructed, well-fitting and properly worn mask continues to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Even in situations where it is not required, consider wearing a mask when you are in high-risk situations (e.g. crowded places, close conditions, poor ventilation) as well as during high-risk activities (e.g., visiting an immunocompromised family member, playing close-contact sports, attending a large venue event such as a concert)
  • Consider wearing a medical mask if:
    • You are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19
      • You may also want to consider using a respirator
  • More information about selecting and using 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

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