On April 24, the Government of Quebec officially began recommending that residents wear masks "as an additional tool to limit the spread of the virus," especially in situations when social distancing is not possible. The announcement came as officials also prepare plans to gradually reopen schools and non-essential businesses. On their websites, both the federal and provincial governments outline ways to make your own masks as well as tips to keep in mind to maximize their effectiveness.

Quebec, for its part, makes clear that "wearing a face shield is not a substitute for protective measures" like hand-washing and social distancing.

"It is also important to remember that it is essential for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate themselves at home."

"When worn properly," the Government of Canada further explains, "a person wearing a non-medical mask or face covering can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets."

To most be most effective, masks should:

  • "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

  • "fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

  • "allow for easy breathing

  • "be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment

  • "be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty

  • "maintain their shape after washing and drying."

They should not:

  • "be placed on children under the age of 2 years

  • "be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing

  • "be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials

  • "be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues

  • "be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials

  • "be shared with others

  • "impair vision or interfere with tasks."

The federal government website also includes three easy methods to make your own masks using cotton fabric, a t-shirt, or bandana.

A document provided by the Government of Quebec further outlines proper mask etiquette.

 

Recommended habits include:

  • "[Washing] your hands BEFORE and AFTER use of the covering

  • "[Changing] your face covering if it becomes moist, soiled or damaged"

  • "[Keeping] it on your face," not "hanging from your neck or an ear;" 

  • Not touching it;

  • and removing it "by the elastic or string loops without touching the front."

As normal activities slowly resume over the course of the summer and fall, face coverings are set to become more integrated into our culture and daily lives.

Stay tuned for more news.

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