While the primary cause of COVID-19 transmission is people who are symptomatic, there is increasing evidence that some COVID-19 infected people never develop symptoms or are not yet sick and are able to transmit the virus.
Health officials have agreed that wearing a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth or other materials) – even if you have no symptoms – is an additional measure you may take to protect others around you, particularly in situations where the recommended physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as public transit.
Wearing a non-medical mask will not prevent you from getting sick. However, it is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.
People should also be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside or when touched by hands.
- Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often.
- Masks should not be shared with others.
A homemade mask does not replace proven public health measures. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID‑19 is to continue to:
- stay home as much as possible;
- practise physical distancing;
- wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water; and
- cover your cough or sneezes with tissues or your sleeve.
Individuals choosing to wear a non-medical mask need to understand their limitations and how to safely use them. Information is available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website: Considerations in the use of homemade masks to protect against COVID-19. Information on how to make a non-medical mask and how to properly put on or remove a non-medical mask can be found at About non-medical masks and face coverings.