YOUR A-Z FOR MASKING - DO I WEAR IT AT WORK? WHAT ABOUT HEALTHCARE WORKERS? WHEN CAN I TAKE IT OFF? WEAR IT IN EVERY PUBLIC PLACE? DO'S AND DON'TS, TOO!

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking more action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns.

These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020).

They include mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

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

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)

  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public

  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

Face coverings will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but may help protect others.

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

When you don’t have to wear a face covering

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering.

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.

Children

Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You do not need to wear a face covering if you:

  • have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering

  • are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else

  • are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code

Correctional institutions

You do not need to wear a face covering if you are in a:

  • correctional institution

  • custody program for young persons in conflict with the law

  • detention program for young persons in conflict with the law

Workplaces

You do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.

Residences and dwellings

You do not need to wear a face covering in:

  • university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres from others

  • residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of“residential services and supports”in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)

Performing or rehearsing

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are performing or rehearsing for a:

  • film or television production

  • concert

  • artistic event

  • theatrical performance

Temporarily taking off your face covering

You can take off your face covering temporarily:

  • to receive services that require you to take it off (for example, at the dentist, when receiving some personal care services such as facials, or when you have to verify your identity)  

  • to engage in an athletic or fitness activity

  • to eat or drink

  • as necessary for health and safety purposes

Fit

Non-medical masks or face coverings should:

  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

  • maintain their shape after washing and drying

  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen)

  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

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

  • minimize errands to a single trip where possible

  • 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)

How to properly use face coverings

When wearing 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 slightly wet or dirty.

Remove or dispose of face coverings

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.

Cleaning

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 slightly wet, dirty or crumpled.

For more information, please read the Public Health Ontario (PHO) fact sheet.

Summary dos and don’ts

Do:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask

  • 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

  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others

  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing

  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

Guidance for health care workers

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a garment or device worn by health care workers to protect themselves from infection when they:

  • are in close contact with people who are infected

  • can’t maintain a safe physical distance

  • do not have access to a physical barrier

PPE includes:

  • surgical masks, also called procedural or medical masks, which prevent droplets and splashes from passing through the mask material  

  • respirators, such as the N95 respirator, which have a filter and seal around the nose and mouth to help prevent exposure to airborne particles

  • gowns

  • gloves

  • eye protection, such as goggles or face shields

The type of PPE you need depends on the type of health care work you do. Health care workers who provide direct care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID‑19 need to:

  • follow droplet and contact precautions

  • use a surgical mask, isolation gown, gloves and eye protection

 

 


Thank you for reading this - Karissa Ward, Jason Ward, Monique Meloche, Broghan Dean, Calvin Chan of WARDS LAWYERS PC.

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