Face coverings (COVID-19)
Medical masks, including surgical masks and N95 respirators, are in short supply and need to be kept for health-care settings.
Public health agencies recommend that you wear a non-medical mask (for example, a homemade cloth mask) or face covering to protect others when physical distancing is not possible or difficult to predict—even if you have no symptoms of COVID-19. A non-medical mask or face covering protects other people from your germs. The goal is to ensure the best protection possible.
Exemptions to wearing a face covering are in effect for multiple reasons, such as medical conditions and age. No proof is required for exemptions. For more information about face coverings and exemptions read our frequently asked questions.
Face coverings and Public Health Sudbury & Districts instructions
Currently in effect: All persons responsible for a business or an organization that is currently open in the area served by PHSD must have a policy in place to ensure that no one is permitted to enter or remain in an enclosed public space (public indoor spaces) unless they are wearing a face covering. This includes public transit. They must also have a policy in place for enclosed employee spaces to ensure physical distancing or face coverings, where physical distancing is not possible, among other responsibilities. Learn more about these instructions in our letter to employers (322 KB, PDF).
- Workplaces: what you need to know (PDF)
- Community members: what you need to know (PDF)
- Frequently asked questions – Instructions regarding face coverings
- Face covering signage, 8.5 x 11″ (PDF)
What does a non-medical mask or face covering do?
A mask or face covering acts as a barrier. It reduces the chance of spreading respiratory droplets to others and prevents droplets from landing on surfaces when you cough or sneeze.
When to wear a non-medical mask or face covering
In Ontario, you must use a face covering (Government of Ontario) in enclosed public spaces (public indoor spaces) and whenever physical distancing is a challenge. All customers, clients, and visitors entering enclosed public spaces in Sudbury and districts must wear a face covering unless they have an exemption. This includes individuals entering:
- 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
- public transit
Learn more about how these instructions ramp up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How to use a non-medical mask or face covering safely
Face coverings, non-medical and cloth masks have limits and you need to use them safely.
Your mask should:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face covering your nose and mouth
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Using your mask or face covering
To use your mask you must:
- wash your hands immediately before putting it on
- avoid touching or adjusting your mask while wearing it
- be sure not to touch or rub your eyes while you wear it
- don’t share your mask with others
Do not place a mask on:
- children under age 2
- anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
- anyone that cannot remove the mask without help
Removing your mask or face covering
Masks can become contaminated on the outside or when touched by hands.
To remove your mask safely you must:
Step 1: Be very careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your mask.
Step 2: Wash your hands immediately after you remove it.
Step 3: Place your used mask directly into the washing machine.
Step 4: Wash your mask with other items using a hot cycle, and then dry it thoroughly. If you can’t wash your mask, throw it in the garbage right away.
Learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19, including how to wash cloth masks and safely dispose of non-medical masks on Canada.ca/coronavirus (Government of Canada).
How to wear a mask or face covering
Masks and face coverings need to be worn correctly. Watch these videos to learn how to properly put on, take off, and clean your mask to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Watch as Seran demonstrates how to properly put on, take off, and store a mask at school. This video is appropriate for children and youth in Grades 3 and under.
Guidance for caregivers and health care providers
This item was last modified on October 4, 2021