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Mandatory Masks

Ottawa Public Health is mandating the use of masks in many indoor public spaces.

SOURCE: Ottawa Public Health

The best thing you can do to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is staying at home if you are sick, washing your hands regularly with soap and water and maintaining a physical distance of two metres or six feet from others. 

Effective, July 7, 2020 as of 12:01 am Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health has instructed every Operator of an Enclosed Public Space within the City of Ottawa to: 

  1. Adopt a policy to ensure that no member of the public is permitted to enter or remain in the public areas of the Enclosed Public Space unless he or she is wearing a mask in a manner that covers their nose, mouth and chin. 
  2. Those exempt from wearing a mask are: 
    • Children under two years of age, or children under the age of five years either chronologically or developmentally who refuse to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver; 
    • Individuals with medical conditions rendering them unable to safely wear a mask, including breathing difficulties or cognitive difficulties;  
    • Individuals who are unable to apply or remove a mask without assistance, including those who are accommodated under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) or who have protections under the Ontario Human Rights CodeR.S.O. 1990, c.H.19, as amended; 
    • A person who is employed by or is an agent of the Operator of an Enclosed Public Space and: 
      • is in an area of the premises that is not designated for public access, or  
      • is within or behind a physical barrier (e.g., Plexiglass). 
  3. Ensure the availability of alcohol-based hand rub at all entrances and exits for the use of all persons entering or exiting the establishment. 

Please see the fullInstruction Letter to Businesses and Operators for more detailed information.  

Since June 15, all OC Transpo customers have been required to wear a mask or face covering while using their services, but some exceptions apply. For more information, visit 

How do masks or face covering work? 

Wearing a mask or face covering helps to trap COVID-19 and protects people who are around you. Since some people who are infected with COVID-19 may have the virus and not know it, whenever people are going out and might come into close contact with other people they should wear a mask or face covering. When other people wear a mask or face covering they are helping to protect you as well. 

Wearing a mask or face covering should not replace other protective measures including physical distancing, hand washing, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

What type of mask or face covering should I wear? 

There are many types of masks or face covering available including non-medical cloth masks that can be washed and reuseddisposable masks that can only be worn once and medical masks such as N95 respirators that should be reserved for front-line health care workers.  

Masks or Face Coverings

When buying or making a mask or face covering you should look for masks or face coverings that are made with: 

  • Two or three layers of tightly woven but breathable cloth such as cotton,flannel or quilting cotton 
  • No seams over the mouth and nose through which air may leak 
  • Horizontal pleats to help fit a variety of faces  

Disposable non-medical face masks 

Disposable non-medical face masks may also be worn. These masks are single use masks and should be put in the garbage after use. 

Medical Masks 

Like many countries, Canada continues to face a shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment for health care workers. To preserve supplies for healthcare workers medical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for specific high-risk settings and are not recommended for lower-risk daytoday activities like when you are in a grocery store or while taking public transportation.N95 respirators with valves, which let air out more easily when you breathe out, should never be used when the intent is to protect others from the virus you may be shedding because they will not trap the virusFor health care workers looking for information on personal protective equipment, please refer to our section onInfection Prevention and Control. 


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