Mask Guidance

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Mask Guidance for Manitobans

Respiratory droplets and aerosols are made when we do every day things like talk, cough, breathe, sneeze, or sing. The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets and aerosols from someone infected with the virus.

Masks are no longer required to be worn in indoor public spaces in Manitoba. However, individuals may choose to wear a mask based on personal preference. You can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets and aerosols and decrease your risk of becoming infected by properly wearing a well-made, well-fitting mask.

On this page:

Who should wear a mask

Wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the spread of respiratory droplets and aerosols. Well-fitting, well-made masks can help reduce the spread of the virus.

Most people, even those with an underlying medical condition, can safely wear a mask. There's no evidence that wearing a mask will worsen an underlying medical condition and, for example, an individual with asthma or a heart condition can safely wear a mask in most situations.

However, anyone who has difficulty wearing a mask properly should not wear one. This includes people who are:

How to properly use a mask

When masks are worn properly, they may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to yourself and others.

Putting your mask on properly

Safely removing your mask

Wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer after removing your mask.

While wearing your mask, if it becomes wet or damaged, you should replace it as soon as you are able to. Masks that are wet or damaged are not effective.

Accessories that keep you from losing your mask, such as a lanyard to wear your mask around your neck when not in use, are not recommended. Wearing a mask around your neck, from one ear or pulled down under your nose contaminates the mask and puts you at risk of infection.

What type of mask to choose

All types of masks can help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus if they are well-made and fit well. In general, non-medical masks, medical masks and respirators can all be used in the community based on personal preference.

No matter what type of mask you choose, it is important to choose one that is well-made, well-fitting, that is comfortable and that you can wear without frequent adjustments or touching your face.

Ensure the mask fits well across the face (covers the mouth, nose and chin) and has no gaps. The mask that fits your face well and that you are able to wear consistently is the right mask for you.

There may be requirements for specific mask type in certain environments such as the hospital, but the recommendations on this page are about general settings.

Regardless of the type of mask you choose, the mask should not have any holes or valves. These can allow respiratory droplets and aerosols to escape from the mask and enable the spread of COVID-19.

Children, especially younger kids, should wear masks with ear loops rather than strings or ties as these can present a choking hazard.

Medical masks are also recommended for:

You can also visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website for more information, including posters, on how to choose, use, and care for a mask as well as how to make your mask fit properly.

Non-Medical Masks

When choosing a non-medical mask, a few things to consider include material, construction, and fit. These factors are important to how well a non-medical mask can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Non-medical masks may either be disposable or reusable.

Look for a non-medical mask made of tightly-woven breathable material; cotton or linen is a good choice. The non-medical mask should be made of at least three layers which includes two layers of tightly-woven breathable material and a middle filter layer. For more information of what kind of material or filter are recommended, see the section on Materials and construction - non‑medical masks on PHAC’s webpage While few non-medical masks provide information about how effective they are at filtering germs like viruses, proper fit is very important in how well a mask works.

Medical Masks

Medical masks are also known as procedure or surgical masks. To be labelled as a medical mask, it must meet international regulatory standards which include particle and bacterial filtration, breathability, fluid resistance, and flammability of materials.

Medical masks that are recommended by Health Canada are labelled as meeting one of the following standards:

When looking for a medical mask, look on the box label for these. Medical masks come in a variety of sizes and it is important to make sure the one you choose fits well.


Respirators are designed to fit closer to the face. This may allow for a better fit than other mask types, but this depends on the shape of your face, hair, and respirator size and design. The respirator should fit well to the face with no gaps.

When looking for a respirator, make sure it has been approved by Health Canada. Depending on the type of respirator, there are standards that it should meet and these should be marked on the product. For example, NIOSH N95 respirators should have a number stamped on the respirator and looks like TC-84A-####n. For more information on other types of respirators that meet Health Canada approval and the marking to look for, see

Respirators that are issued as PPE to workers in workplaces are subject to the provisions of the CSA Standard Z94.4 and require that workers are tested to assure an acceptable fit is achieved for the model of respirator selected. A summary of the standard provisions is available at

Additional Resources