Wearing a mask or a face covering

Wearing a mask or a face covering reduces the risk of transmission of several infectious respiratory diseases.

People wearing a mask or face covering are required to continue applying the other protective health measures. For more information, consult the page Steps for limiting the spread of respiratory infectious diseases.

Visors (face shields) or plexiglass barriers canot replace masks or face coverings.

When to wear a mask or a face covering

The following individuals are recommended to wear a mask:

  • People who have symptoms of a respiratory infectious disease (cough, sore throat or nasal congestion)
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have a health condition that makes them vulnerable
  • People aged 60 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • In the presence of vulnerable people due to their health or age (over 60 years old)
  • In the presence of a baby under 3 months, except for the immediate family
  • In busy places (except schools and daycares)

Healthcare facilities

Masks or face coverings are mandatory for all individuals going to general or specialized hospital centres (excluding psychiatric hospitals), private or public CHSLDs, a CLSC or medical clinics with a practising physician, nurse or nursing assistant.

When they arrive there, staff may ask them to put on a mask.

Masks or face coverings are not mandatory in facilities that exclusively offer mental health services.


It can be mandatory to wear a mask in some workplaces, particularly for healthcare workers.

To learn more, see the guides and tools produced by the CNESST This hyperlink will open in a new window..

People who are exempt

People in the following situations are not subject to the obligation to wear a mask or face covering:

  • Children under the age of 10 years
  • People with health conditions preventing them from wearing a mask or face covering:
    • people with a physical disability which makes them unable to put them on or take them off
    • people with a facial deformity
    • people with a cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, a severe autism spectrum disorder, a drug addiction problem, or a severe mental health problem are incapable of understanding the obligation or would experience significant psychological distress
    • people with a severe skin condition affecting the face or ears that would be seriously exacerbated by wearing a mask or face covering
  • People receiving care or services or performing a physical or other activity that requires them to remove their masks. In such cases, they may remove their mask or face covering only while the care, service or activity takes place
  • People who must temporarily remove their mask or face covering to verify their identity

Individuals exempt from wearing a mask or face covering owing to their health condition are recommended to avoid the places where they are obligatory, whenever possible. However, another person may not limit their access to places where a face covering is obligatory. If they go to those places, exempt individuals are recommended to strictly comply with the physical distancing requirement of keeping one metre away from others, except for those accompanying them, if any.

Furthermore, people with chronic conditions, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, are not exempt from wearing a mask or face covering. When possible, these people should preferably wear a procedural mask given that these masks provide better protection.

Last update: December 2, 2022


Information on the website in no way replaces the opinion of a health professional. If you have questions concerning your health status, consult a professional.


Was the information on this page useful to you?

You have questions or require additional information?

Please contact Services Québec