Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been some confusion in Canada regarding masks and face coverings. However, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health has come through with some solid advice, and an answer to the question “should I be wearing a mask?” In fact, she’s urging locals to get one ASAP.

Speaking earlier this week, Dr. Vera Etches confirmed that wearing a mask is now recommended when people are out and about in the city, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 wherever possible.

“I do hope that everyone will find a way to purchase a mask, or seek help to get one, because it’s likely that we need to wear a mask to protect others when we go out,” Dr. Vera Etches told CTV News at Six.

“As we start doing more activities that bring us within two metres of somebody else, that’s when we would like everyone to be wearing a mask,” she added.

Her comments come as Ontario looks towards reopening a number of services and facilities, including golf courses, national parks and even some stores.

While there was initially some confusion about the effectiveness of face coverings, it seems Ottawa’s health officials now agree that masks are one of the few options available that could actually help prevent serious spreading.

“The reality is we don’t have that many tools to continue to suppress infection in our community,” Dr. Etches explained.

“They are physical distancing and they are using a mask within two metres of others, if that has to happen,” she added.

This comes as the City of Toronto has made similar suggestions to residents of the 6ix, asking them to wear masks  wherever possible when out and about.

Sharing a similar message to Dr. Etches, Toronto's medical officer of health explained, "In a retail environment, when physical distancing cannot be maintained and you are in close contact with others, a cloth mask or face covering is strongly recommended to keep your germs from spreading to others, even if you have no symptoms."

While Canadians are not asked to wear medical masks, which are required by frontline staff and health care workers, a cloth or homemade fask mask is considered sufficient.

There's plenty of options available online, and you can even grab a "speaking moistly" version!

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has also shared his support for public mask-wearing, by tweeting a photo of himself wearing his own mask.

"If you’re going out in a public place, wearing a mask is a great way to have some extra protection for yourself and others around you," he wrote.

According to Etches, Ottawa Public Health has started a “mask force,” who are in the process of attempting to tackle the shortage of masks across the city.

Mask up, Ottawa!

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