The best thing you can do to prevent spreading COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If none is available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
To protect others, you should also:
- stay at home if you are ill
- maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others
- when physical distancing cannot be maintained, consider wearing a non-medical mask or homemade face covering
- avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes
Wearing a homemade non-medical mask/facial covering in the community is recommended for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings, such as:
- shopping areas
- public transportation
Public health officials will make recommendations based on a number of factors, including the rates of infection and/or transmission in the community. In some jurisdictions, the use of masks in many indoor public spaces and on public transit is now mandatory. You can check with your local public health authority on the requirements for your location.
Wearing a mask 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.
Appropriate use of non-medical mask or face covering
When worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask or face covering can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets.
Non-medical face masks or face coverings should:
- allow for easy breathing
- fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
- maintain their shape after washing and drying
- be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
- be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
- be made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)
- be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping
Some masks also include a pocket to accommodate a paper towel or disposable coffee filter, for increased benefit.
Non-medical masks or face coverings should:
- not be shared with others
- not impair vision or interfere with tasks
- not be placed on children under the age of 2 years
- not be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials
- not be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials
- not be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues
- not be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing
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