Overview

As of June 11, 2022, provincial mask requirements have been lifted in most public settings, including:

  • social gatherings and organized public events
  • retail settings
  • personal care services
  • restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments
  • places of worship
  • public transit

You should continue to wear a mask if you feel it is right for you.

When you have to wear a mask

Long-term care and retirement homes

To continue providing an additional layer of protection for the most vulnerable, long-term care homes and retirement homes will still require masking. Masking is also recommended for other high-risk congregate living and acute care settings.

If you are recovering from COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 symptoms

You should wear a mask when outside your home in public spaces, when:

  • you are recovering from COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
  • you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

If you are at higher risk of severe illness

People at higher risk for severe illness are encouraged to wear a mask, particularly if they have not received all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including:

  • people who are older
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • people who are pregnant or have recently given birth

Businesses and organizations

Businesses and organizations may implement their own rules and policies related to masking within their settings and Ontarians should respect and follow these rules.

In other settings wearing a mask is a personal choice. Individuals are encouraged to wear a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask if they feel it is the right choice for them.

When you don’t have to wear a mask

In settings that require you to wear a mask, there are some situations when you should not need to wear one.
You should not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.

Children

Children should not have to wear a mask if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You should not need to wear a mask if you:

  • have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering
  • are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else
  • are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code

Workplaces

If your workplace requires masks, you may not need to wear it when you are working in an indoor area that is not accessible to the public and allows you to maintain a distance of at least two metres from anyone else.

Residents of care settings

Residents should not need to wear a mask in:

  • retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when they are in a common area and can’t maintain a distance of at least two metres from others
  • residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)

Temporarily taking off your mask

If you are in a setting that requires a mask, you should be able to take it off temporarily:

  • to receive services that require you to take it off (for example, at the dentist or doctor’s office)
  • to engage in an athletic or fitness activity
  • to eat or drink
  • as necessary for health and safety purposes

Fit

Masks should:

  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • maintain their shape and integrity after washing and drying (for re-usable masks)
  • be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material (such as cotton or linen) and should have a third, middle layer of filter-type fabric
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

How to properly use masks

When wearing a mask, you should:

  • wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the mask)
  • make sure the mask fits well around your nose and mouth
  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • avoid touching the mask while using it
  • not share it with others

Masks should be changed when they get slightly wet or dirty.

Remove or dispose of masks

When removing a mask, you should:

  • throw it out into a lined garbage bin if your mask is disposable
  • wash your hands

Do not leave any discarded masks in shopping carts or on the ground.

Cleaning

If the mask can be cleaned, you should:

  • put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine
  • wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent (no special soaps are needed), and dry thoroughly
  • wash your hands after putting the mask into the laundry

All masks that cannot be cleaned should be thrown out and replaced as soon as they get slightly wet, dirty or crumpled.

Masks in the workplace

In addition to the above general requirements and advice for masks, workers may have separate requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) from their employer.

If you are a business or health care organization and you need PPE, you can find a company or business association that supplies personal protective equipment.