A woman wearing a homemade non-medical mask made of blue material with a flower pattern

Help others by wearing a non-medical mask

Wearing a non-medical mask (such as a homemade cloth mask) when out in public has not been proven to protect the wearer, but it will help prevent you from contaminating others while at the grocery store or other locations where physical distancing may be difficult.

Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you

It is important to keep in mind that we are helping others by wearing a mask. Do not assume that someone wearing a mask is sick.

Wearing a mask does not mean you can ignore other safety measures

Non-medical masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing. Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing a mask.

Follow these rules when wearing a mask

It is important to understand that non-medical masks have limitations and need to be used safely.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practising good hand hygiene while wearing it)
  • it should fit well (no gaps around the top, bottom or sides)
  • do not share it with others

Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands. When wearing a mask, take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • do not touch your face mask while using it
  • change a cloth mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled
    • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly
  • non-medical masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled
    • dispose of masks properly in a lined garbage bin
    • do not leave discarded masks in shopping carts, on the ground, etc.