Are face masks still important in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Face masks are one of the most important ways we can help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. The risk of transmission is highest where people are close to each other, and in enclosed spaces.
That’s why it is important to wear a face mask in public indoor settings and when you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others.
In situations where you must wear a mask, you must wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth. This means that face shields, bandanas or scarves or loose snoods, or loose neck gaiters on their own are not considered a sufficient face covering. A cloth face mask with three layers or a surgical mask is recommended by the Chief Health Officer, as it provides the best protection for you and others.
Are face masks effective for protecting against coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission?
Face masks have been recommended around the world for use by the community to reduce transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Your best protection is still to keep at least 1.5 metres apart from other people, to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
For the community, both cloth masks and surgical masks are effective in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
How does wearing a fitted face mask reduce community transmission?
Wearing a fitted face mask protects both you and the people around you by reducing the movement of coronavirus (COVID-19), especially when indoors where ventilation is reduced.
This two-way protection significantly reduces community transmission when more people wear face masks.
More movement of the virus from person to person means a greater chance of infection.
A fitted face mask can reduce this movement by blocking droplets moving from an infected person and also droplets moving to someone who is not infected.
When do I have to wear a mask?
Reviewed 17 January 2021