A face covering, also called a handcrafted mask, can refer to a face covering made by a company or a face covering that you make yourself at home.
When wear a mask or a face covering
Wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth is also mandatory on public transit (buses, the subway, ferries, taxis, car services, etc.) for people age 12 and over.
Since July 18, 2020, wearing a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth has also been mandatory in enclosed or partially enclosed public places for people age 12 and over. This obligation, with exceptions, will apply in the following places:
- a retail business;
- 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 (e.g., movie theatre, concert hall, etc.);
- a rental room or other venue used to host events, such as conferences and conventions;
- a place where sports or recreational activities are practiced;
- a restaurant or bar;
- a common area, including an elevator, of a tourist accommodation establishment;
- educational institution (except pre-school, primary and secondary schools), including colleges and universities;
- a train or bus station, a river station, a metro station or an airport.
Wearing a mask or face covering is also mandatory to access or move around a lobby, reception area or elevator in an office building other than an apartment building.
A face shield may not be worn instead of a mask or face covering in places where wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory.
People in the following situations are not required to wear a mask or face covering:
- children under the age of 12. However, wearing a mask or face covering is recommended for children between 2 and 11 years of age. It is not recommended for those under age 2;
- people whose particular medical 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 work or practice their profession in a place accessible to the public, except when they are in a lobby, reception area or elevator in an office building other than an apartment building. These people remain subject to the specific rules applicable to them in terms of health and safety at work.
- 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 the classrooms of an educational institution,
- in a place where activities or services of a cultural or entertainment nature are offered,
- in a restaurant, a food court or a bar,
- in another enclosed or partially enclosed place accessible to the public where people can be seated.
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 2 metres 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 procedure 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 2 metres 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 Health recommendations for everyone section.
If you're sick, stay home. If you have to go to a clinic or a hospital, wear a procedure 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 procedure 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 procedure mask.
Masks and face covering with a clear window
You can wear a face covering that has a clear window in order to promote communication with hearing impaired people, people learning the language, people with intellectual disabilities, an autism spectrum disorder or a cognitive impairment, for example. There are a few commercial models of face covering with a clear window and it is also possible to make one yourself (the steps are described in the section How to make a mask or a face covering).
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 face covering, also called handcrafted mask, may reduce the risk of an infected person unknowingly transmitting COVID‑19 to others.
Your face covering must be properly used and regularly washed.
2. With one hand, place the face covering over your nose and mouth. Use your other hand to attach it behind your ears with the elastic or string loops.
7. Do not leave the face covering hanging from your neck or an ear. Keep it on your face and avoid touching it. If you do touch your face covering while wearing it, wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible.
9. Fold the outer parts of the face covering together and place it in a clean bag. You may wash the face covering as soon as you get home, along with the rest of the laundry.
Face covering does not replace the following:
- Hand washing
- Physical distancing (2 metres)
- Isolation at home if you are sick
If you feel uncomfortable wearing your mask
If you feel uncomfortable when you wear a mask or face covering, start by putting it on for a short period of time at home while watching TV, for example. This way, you will get used to wearing it and will be able to judge if it is comfortable enough for your outings. You can also try different types of masks or face coverings. Choose one you are comfortable with. You can also talk to a doctor or pharmacist about it.
How to make a mask or a face covering
You can easily make a face covering, also called handcrafted mask, 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 covering. Here are three easy-to-make models:
Some models of handcrafted masks or face coverings are available commercially. The Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail has produced a notice for manufacturers and distributors of handcrafted masks (in French only) and an appendix on the properties of various materials (in French only).
- Bandana or square of cotton cloth approximately 50 x 50 cm
- Rubber bands or hair ties
- Scissors, if needed
1. Put the bandana on a table in front of you. Fold the bandana in half. Fold the top corners down and the bottom corners up. You now have a rectangle with two layers of fabric.
2. Fold the top corners toward the middle of the rectangle. Fold the bottom corners toward the middle of the rectangle. You now have a rectangle with four layers of fabric.
3. Place a rubber band around a quarter of the way in on the left. Place a rubber band around a quarter of the way in on the right.
4. Fold both corners on the left toward the middle of the rectangle. Fold both corners on the right toward the middle of the rectangle.
5. Lift the face covering with the rubber bands and put it over your nose and mouth. Secure the face covering by putting the rubber bands behind your ears.
- Two 25 x 15 cm rectangles of cotton cloth
- Two 15 cm elastics or pieces of string
- Needle and bobby pin
2. Fold a 0.5 cm width on the long side and sew a hem. Now, sew a 1 cm hem along each of the short sides.
3. Thread the 15 cm x 0.3 cm elastic through the hems on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a big needle or bobby pin for this and tie the ends of each loop tightly. If you don’t have elastics, use string to make the ties longer and attach them behind your head.
4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked into the hems. Gather the sides onto the elastic or string and adjust the face covering to your face. Now stitch the elastic or string in place to keep it from slipping.
Source: Inspired by the material developed by the: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 available for free at the following address: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
- Two 32 x 17 cm rectangles of plain cotton fabric in a neutral colour to facilitate concentrating on lip reading
- Four 50 cm ribbons or shoe laces
- Sewing needle
- Protective transparent flexible vinyl heat-resistant window
- Cut-out printable pattern
1. Print the cut-out pattern to the desired size. Cut out two 32 x 17 cm cotton rectangles and place one on top of the other.
2. Pin the pattern to the cloth. Cut the cloth to the shape of the pattern, leaving a 1 cm edge for the sewn flaps. Then cut out the window shape in the middle, also leaving a 1 cm edge.
3. Using the scissors, make a dart at each corner of the window, starting from the edge of the cloth and ending at the edge of the pattern.
4. Remove the pattern and reposition the pins 1 cm from the edge of the mask. Put the fabric face to face.
5. Place the four ribbons (or shoelaces) horizontally between the two layers of fabric, from the extremity of the face covering to the centre, threading the excess length through the opening of the window.
7. Fold the fabric at the centre of the window and sew the edges of the window, one thickness at a time, with a needle and thread.
9. Cut out an 8.5 x 17 cm rectangle (7 x 14 cm for the child model) out of a piece of transparent vinyl.
12. Position the face covering nose-height and attach the upper ribbons behind your head and above your ears. Now attach the lower ribbons behind your head at the base of the neck. Adjust the face covering to your face.
Tips and instructions
- Respect the steps and hygiene measures when making the handcrafted mask or face covering.
- The plastic can also be washed at 60°C if you test beforehand how the base material reacts to high temperatures.
- Sterilize your face covering every day or after 4 hours of intensive use (for example, if you've talked a lot).
- Wash it for 30 minutes at 60°C.
- Store the washed and dry face covering in a resealable plastic bag.
- To avoid the vinyl fogging up, wipe on some liquid detergent or swimming goggle spray the inside of the vinyl window and let dry.
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Last update: July 21, 2020