Masking is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Hundreds of contagious droplets can be generated by just speaking to someone, but nearly all of them are blocked when wearing a mask. When masking is normalized (common practice) in communities, studies show that COVID-19 cases are significantly reduced. Masking is most important in crowded settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
COVID-19 spreads in the air far more easily than by surface. To protect yourself and others, wear a non-medical mask or face covering:
- Anytime it is required by a business or service
- Indoors in crowded places
- Indoors in a location with poor ventilation
- Indoors where there is shouting, singing, playing music (especially wind instruments) or exercise (if applicable)
- Outdoors in crowded spaces when it is difficult to maintain physical distance.
Material, structure and fit
Well-designed and well-fitting masks or face coverings can prevent the spread of infectious respiratory droplets.
Masks should be:
- At least three layers of cloth
- Two layers should be tightly woven material fabric, such as cotton or linen
- The third (middle) layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric
- Large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping
- Allow easy breathing
- Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
- Be comfortable and not require frequent adjustments
- Be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
- Maintain its shape after washing and drying
Masks aren't recommended for:
- People who suffer from illnesses or disabilities that make it difficult to put on or take off a mask
- Those who have difficulty breathing
- Children under the age of two years
- Those who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance