Homemade cloth masks have not been proven to protect the person wearing them from COVID-19, and they are not a substitute for physical distancing and good hand hygiene. However:

  • Masks do cover the mouth and nose, and may help protect others if you are sick, by preventing respiratory droplets from contaminating people and surfaces around you.
  • Wearing masks can also reduce spread from those who are infected with the virus but do not know it.
  • Wearing a mask may help if you find yourself in a place where you cannot distance yourself from others.

The most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to wash your hands, stay home (especially when sick), and keep 2 metres away from others when out for essential supplies.

When wearing a mask:

  • Continue to practice physical distancing and hand washing.
  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off.
  • Do not touch your face while using it.
  • Do not share it with others.
  • With a cloth mask, change it as soon as it gets damp or soiled by putting it directly into the washing machine or a plastic bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then thrown out.
  • Wash cloth masks using a hot cycle and then dry it thoroughly.
  • Do not embroider or add bead work, as this will poke large holes in the cloth.

If you wear a non-medical mask, please note that it can become a source of infection when damp or wet. Disposable masks should be discarded after each use. Assume that any mask is contaminated after you wear it.