Feds and Province Recommending Non-Medical Face Coverings in Public

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The use of non-medical face masks is now being recommended by Canada’s public health experts.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Theresa Tam said the new recommendation comes as stay-at-home orders are lifting in different provinces and more people are going outside, riding public transit, or visiting stores.

“This will help us reopen and add another layer to how you go out safely,'' says Dr. Tam.

The Ontario government is echoing the federal recommendations saying those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19.

According to a release, the Ministry of Health has released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.

  • Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
  • Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

"If you need a face covering, it is critically important people wear one that is appropriate for the situation," said Health Minister Christine Elliott. "Those taking transit or going out who can't physically distance should wear non-medical grade cloth masks. We need to reserve all of the medical masks to protect our frontline health care workers, first responders and people who are ill."

All Canadians continue to be legally required to self-isolate for 14 days when returning home from international travel.

In the meantime, the provincial government says it will continue to carefully monitor the key public health indicators outlined in A Framework to Reopening our Province at each stage of reopening and will adjust public health measures if necessary.

 

— With files from The Canadian Press