The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside of your household.

You may consider using a face covering (non-medical mask such as a cloth mask or bandana) to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in areas where physical distancing may be challenging or not possible, such as:

  • public transit
  • smaller grocery stores or pharmacies
  • when you are receiving essential services

Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to:

  • stay home except for essential reasons
  • avoid close contact with others and keep at least two metres from others outside your household
  • wash your hands regularly (or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available)
  • practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette (for example, sneeze and cough into your sleeve and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth)

Who should not use face coverings

Face coverings should not be placed on or used by:

  • children under the age of two
  • anyone who has trouble breathing
  • anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

How to properly use, clean and dispose of face coverings

If you choose to use a face covering, you should:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering)
  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • avoid touching the covering while using it
  • not share it with others

Face coverings should be changed when they get damp or soiled.

When removing a face covering, you should:

  • throw it out into a lined garbage bin
  • wash your hands

Do not leave any discarded face coverings in shopping carts or on the ground.

If the face covering can be cleaned, you should:

  • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine
  • wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent (no special soaps are needed), and dry thoroughly
  • wash your hands after putting the face covering into the laundry

All face coverings that cannot be cleaned should be thrown out and replaced as soon as they get damp, soiled or crumpled.

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