Canada Is Now Recommending You Wear A Face Mask When You're Going Out
The language used by health officials about masks and coverings has changed. Face masks in Canada are now "recommended" by chief medical officers in the country. So, if you can't keep a safe distance from others, it'd be good to have your face covered.
On May 20, Dr. Theresa Tam updated Canadians about wearing non-medical coverings when going somewhere other than their homes.
Now that parts of the country are reopening and allowing for certain activities, the wearing of masks is recommended if you can't keep a two-metre distance.
They are "recommended as an added layer of protection."
She reiterated that wearing a face covering is about protecting others, not yourself.
"If you're wearing it, you're protecting other people against your droplets," she said.
Dr. Tam mentioned that as people start to get out more, a two-metre distance might not be guaranteed on public transportation or in retail stores that have reopened.
Masks can also help prevent transmission from asymptomatic people, even though their role isn't fully understood yet.
Although face coverings are now recommended to Canadians, that doesn't mean other public health measures should be ignored.
"For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum," Dr. Tam said.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, spoke along with Dr. Tam.
He noted that covering your face is an additional measure, not the only necessary measure.
"We still don’t want the general public to think, 'okay, then we can stop performing the other public health measures which are still highly recommended and are clearly effective,'" he said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has a section of its website dedicated to non-medical masks, including how to put them on, take them off, and clean or dispose of them.
Justin Trudeau is wearing one now too.
"In situations where I'm either walking through the halls of Parliament or going to my office and coming into proximity with people, I've chosen to start wearing a mask," Trudeau told reporters on May 20.
He was photographed wearing one when he visited nurses in Ottawa recently.
Uber has even made masks mandatory for all drivers and passengers in Canada.