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Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

When wear a mask or a face covering

Wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose to under the chin is mandatory on public transit (buses, the subway, ferries, taxis, car services, etc.) and in enclosed or partially enclosed public places  for people age 10 and over.

This obligation, with exceptions, will apply in the following places:

  • a retail business;
  • Indoor sports facilities, including fitness rooms;
  • changing rooms and poolside;
  • a service company;
  • a professional’s private office;
  • a place where municipal or government services are offered;
  • a personal care business (e.g., hairdressers, beauty care) ;
  • a shopping mall;
  • a place of worship;
  • a place where cultural or entertainment activities or services are offered;
  • a rental room or other venue used to host events, such as conferences and conventions;
  • a place where sports or recreational activities are practiced, even for spectators;
  • a restaurant or bar (except when seated to eating or drink);
  • a common area in a tourist accommodation facility (including an elevator);
  • an educational institution (with exceptions);
  • a train or bus station, a river station, a metro station or an airport;
  • a common area of a private seniors’ home (including an elevator);
  • to access or move around a lobby, reception area or elevator in an office building other than an apartment building;

In some of these places, however, it is possible to remove the mask at specific times and under certain conditions. Consult the measures in force for more details.

Wearing a mask or face covering is recommended in the common areas of apartment buildings (apartments, housings, condos, multiplexes, housing complexes, etc.)

Demonstrations are still permitted, but wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory at all times.

A visor may not be worn or a plexiglas barrier installed instead of a mask or face covering in places where a mask or face covering is mandatory.


Preschoolers are not required to wear a face covering.

The measures in force in primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities or in adult education and vocational training centres vary depending on the alert level. See the measures in force in your municipality or region for more information.

Outdoor activities

People who do not belong to the same bubble should wear a mask or face covering unless they are sitting more than one metre apart or they are swimming or doing water sports.


A medical procedural mask must be worn in the workplace when physical distancing of 2 metres inside (or 1 metre outside) is not possible. To know more, refer to the CNESST COVID‑19 Toolkit This hyperlink will open in a new window. and the recommendations of the Réseau de santé publique en santé au travail (in French only) This hyperlink will open in a new window. published by INSPQ.

People who are exempt

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

  • children under the age of 10, except in CHSLDs and private seniors’ homes. However, wearing a mask or face covering is recommended for children between 2 and 9 years of age and is not recommended for children under 2 years of age. Children must nonetheless comply with specific rules in primary schools. See the measures in force in your municipality or region for more information;
  • people whose health condition prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering:
    • people who are unable to put it on or take it off by themselves due to a physical disability,
    • people with facial deformities,
    • peoples who, due to cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, an autism spectrum disorder, an addiction problem or a severe mental health problem, are unable to understand the requirement or for whom wearing a mask or face covering causes significant disorganization or distress,
    • people who have a severe skin condition on the face or ears that is significantly aggravated by wearing a mask or face covering.
  • people who are receiving treatment, receiving a service or engaging in a physical activity or other activity that requires it to be removed. In these cases, they may remove their mask or face covering for the duration of the treatment, service or activity only;
  • people who removes their mask or face covering momentarily for identification purposes;
  • people who are seated and respect distancing provided in the following places (they must put their mask or face covering back on when moving around in these places):
    • in a restaurant or food court,
    • in another enclosed or partially enclosed place accessible to the public where people can be seated, but remain silent or speak in low voices.

Wearing a mask is no longer mandatory for fully protected people at a gathering in a private home or on private property.

It is recommended that people exempted from wearing a mask or face covering due to a health condition avoid, as much as possible, places where they are mandatory. However, their access to places where a face covering is mandatory must not be restricted by a third party. If they go to these places, it is recommended that people who are exempted strictly maintain a physical distance of 1 metre from other people, except the person with them, if any.

In addition, people with a chronic condition, including cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases, are not exempted from wearing a mask or face covering. Whenever possible, they should use a procedural mask, since it offers better protection against the virus.

In all other public places which are not subject to the obligation to wear a mask or face covering but where physical distancing of 1 metre is not possible, wearing a face covering is strongly recommended.

When you wear a mask or a face covering in public, you must also follow other safety measures, such as hygiene. For more information, see the Basic health recommendations page.

If you're sick, stay home. If you have to go to a clinic or a hospital, wear a procedural mask or, if you don't have one, your face covering until you are given one when you arrive.

Anyone who goes to a health care facility, such as a hospital, a clinic, a doctor’s office or a family medicine group, must wear a procedural mask or a face covering. This requirement applies to both the patient and the person who is with them. When the person arrives, the staff may ask them to wear a procedural mask.

Why wear a mask or a face covering

Not everyone that has COVID-19 has symptoms. Some people do not even realize that they are infected. Wearing a mask or a face covering may reduce the risk of an infected person unknowingly transmitting COVID-19 to others.

Your face covering must be properly used and regularly washed.

For more information, consult How to use a mask or a face covering page.

Printable poster - Here, I wear my face covering - Wearing a face covering is mandatory

The complete reproduction of these documents is authorized, without modification or alteration (of content, colors and fonts).

These posters are available in French This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The poster in French must be predominant over the poster in English. The translated version of the poster must be affixed next to that in French.

Last update: August 18, 2021


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.


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