Why should I wear a mask or face covering?

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is by staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside of your household.

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, and common areas in apartment buildings)
  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public
  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

Face coverings will not stop you from getting COVID-19 but may help protect others.

Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

Health and Accommodations

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below. You do not need to wear a face-covering if you:

Children under two years old do not have to wear face-coverings.

Wearing a Mask: Dos and Don’ts


  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face-covering
  • make sure the face-covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • avoid touching the covering while using it
  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others
  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

This article contains information from the Ministry of Health and Toronto Public Health.

Last updated: December 22, 2020 4006449