Masks (Face Coverings)

As of July 7, 2020, it is MANDATORY to wear a mask (face covering) in enclosed public spaces and outdoor public spaces where members of the public are eating and/or drinking in patios, courtyards, and other similar settings within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Prescott-Russell and the City of Cornwall. See details here.

A mask is defined as a face covering that can filter respiratory droplets, and that securely covers the nose, mouth, and chin without gapping. A mask may be a non-medical mask, medical mask or other face covering (e.g. a bandana, scarf or cloth face covering).

Evidence shows that wearing a mask can help protect other people if the mask-wearer is infected with COVID-19, by trapping respiratory droplets in the mask. Since some people may be infected and not know it, whenever people are going out and might come into close contact with other people, they should wear a mask. When you wear a mask, you are helping to protect other people. When other people wear a mask, they are helping to protect you as well.

Wearing a mask is one tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, it should not replace other protective measures. In addition to wearing a mask, you should continue to practise physical distancing, clean your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and stay at home if you are sick.

It is also important to understand that masks have limitations and need to be used safely:

  • Your mask should cover your nose, mouth, and chin without any gapping.
    • If the mask has a nose wire, adjust it to fit snugly over the bridge of your nose.  
  • Your mask should NOT obstruct your vision.
  • Once your mask is on, you should avoid touching it again until it is removed.
  • If your mask becomes wet or dirty, it should be changed for a new mask. Do not reuse a disposable mask that is intended for a single use.

REMINDER: You need to perform proper hand hygiene every time before and after touching your mask.

You should consider the exterior of your mask as contaminated.  Wearing the mask incorrectly – such as around your neck, below your nose or chin or hanging off of one ear puts you at increased risk of self-contaminating yourself with particles of the virus that could be present on the exterior of your mask.  In addition, when the mask isn’t worn correctly, it also no longer does its job of protecting others.

When you no longer need to be wearing your mask (e.g. when you exit a store, when you are driving back home), you should safely remove it.  Reusable masks should be stored properly and disposable masks should be thrown out in a lined garbage container.

Please consult the resources below for information including how to properly fit, wear, remove and clean your face mask.

How to Use a Disposable Mask or Face Covering

How to Safely Use Reusable Cloth Masks and Face Coverings

Additional resources:

Mandatory Mask Directive for Enclosed Public Spaces

How to Safely Put On and Remove a Face Covering or Mask (illustrated instructions)

Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge

Ontario Ministry of Health: Face coverings and masks

Non-medical masks and face coverings: Sew and no-sew instructions

When and How to Wear a Mask: Recommendations for the General Public

Let's Protect Who We Care About, Let's Wear a Mask

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario