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Wearing a Face Covering in Public Settings

updated July 7, 2020


  • Wearing a mask will be MANDATORY on public transportation as of July 13 and will be in all public places closed in Montreal as of July 27.
  • Wearing a face cover is recommended when physical distancing in public settings is not possible (2 meters or 6 feey), such as when you are shopping.
  • If you are sick, stay home
  • If you need to go to a medical clinic or hospital, you may wear your face covering until you are given a procedure mask.
  • Wearing a face covering does not replace: frequent hand washing, physical distanciatiopn, isolation at home if you are sick.
  • It is particularly recommended to use a tight and flexible fabric, such as cotton, which allows air to pass during breathing. The face cover must be used and cleaned properly.
  • Children under the age of two years, people with respiratory difficulties or who are handicapped or need help to remove their face coverings should not wear them.
  • Remember that medical masks must be reserved for health and social service workers and professionals who provide care directly to the population.
  • If you have to go to the clinic or hospital, you can wear your face covering until you are given a procedure mask.


Not everyone that has COVID-19 has symptoms. Some people do not even realize that they are infected. Wearing a face covering may reduce the risk of an infected person unknowingly transmitting COVID-19 to others. Wearing a face covering in public settings must be accompanied by other protective measures, which include proper hygienic practices and physical distancing. Your face covering must be properly used only by you, and regularly washed.

How to use your face covering

When wearing a mask, you should take the following precautions to protect yourself:

  • wash your hands regularly (before putting on the mask, after removing / handling it),
  • adjust it correctly (well pressed to the face)
  • avoid touching your face (nose, mouth, eyes) and therefore adjusting your mask,
  • avoid sharing it with others,
  • change the mask as soon as it is moist (or every 4 hours):
  • for cloth masks, put the mask directly in the washing machine or in a bag that you will empty in the machine before throwing it away
  • cloth masks can be washed with other items in hot water and then dried thoroughly
  • for disposable masks: dispose of the masks properly in a plastic-lined bin
  • do not leave used masks in supermarket carts, on the ground, etc.

COVID-19–How to make your face covering

You can easily make a face covering with materials found in your home. If possible, use a tightly woven fabric like cotton that lets air pass through as you breathe. Use at least two thicknesses of cloth and make sure that your face covering is both comfortable and fits well on your face. You should be able to launder and machine dry the face covering with no damage or warping.

There are numerous types of cloth face coverings.