Wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Niagara's by-law will expire when the province lifts its order for face coverings.
Not everyone can wear a mask and many disabilities are invisible. People don't have to prove their condition or disability.
Be kind and respectful to people who can't wear a mask. We're in this together and this is one more way we can help to protect each other.
The by-law provides exemptions for:
Wearing a face covering isn't a replacement for other health measures. The most effective measures to protect yourself and those around you is to always be mindful of your health. If you get sick, stay home and get tested. Continue to maintain a two metre physical distance from others, wear a face covering if you cannot maintain a physical distance, and frequently clean or sanitize your hands.
Face coverings are required in:
The by-law doesn't apply to:
To safely wear a face covering:
To remove and care for a face covering:
The Public Health Agency of Canada provides guidance on how to make cloth face coverings. No specific design or material is known to be better than others. Make sure each cloth face covering is made of at least two layers and can be washed multiple times without losing the shape or deteriorating.
To learn more about face coverings and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your non-medical face covering visit:
Provincial and federal messaging doesn't state for the public to wear a face shield as a substitution for a face covering.
Face shields are intended to be used by health care workers and are worn in addition to other personal protective equipment. A face covering creates a complete or near-complete barrier on the sides of the wearer's face. A face shield is open on the sides, which allows some small particles and aerosols to enter. Watch a short video on the difference and why face coverings are so important.
A medical mask is a critical piece of personal protective equipment that must be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders.
Residents, businesses and visitors are asked to do their part to protect the health of the community, and comply with all local, Regional and provincial regulations.
If you have concerns about someone not wearing a mask or face covering, keep in mind that there are a number of exemptions, not everyone can wear a mask and many disabilities are invisible. There's no requirement for people to prove they are exempt.
Residents and business owners shouldn't engage in confrontations with members of the public who aren't wearing a face covering. Instead, you may politely remind patrons of the provincial and Regional by-law requirements. Residents and business owners should take people at their word, and be kind and respectful.
Here are some steps you can take to help your customers:
Every owner / operator of an enclosed public space must take reasonable steps to comply with the by-law including:
Wearing a face / mouth shield alone doesn't meet the requirements of the face covering by-law. Watch this video on the difference between face coverings and face shield, and why face coverings are so important.
Face / mouth shields don't filter respiratory droplets. They don't fit closely to the face which allows particles and aerosols to enter and exit. Some people, such as workers who must be within two metres of clients, wear a face shield in addition to a face covering.
No. While consuming food or drink, you don't need to wear your face covering. If you're leaving your table for any reason, your face covering should be worn.
During the provincewide shutdown, restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments are permitted to offer takeout, drive through and delivery only.
Yes. You must wear face coverings in all enclosed public places and on Regional and municipal transit. This includes all common areas of apartments and condominiums, such as lobbies, elevators and other common use areas.
The by-law includes some exemptions as not everyone can wear a mask. Many disabilities are invisible and people don't have to prove they are exempt. For details, see Niagara's face covering by-law (By-law 2020-46).
Yes. Wearing a face covering isn't an alternative to physical distancing. Make every effort to keep a two metre distance from others, even when wearing a face covering.
No, you don't need to wear a face covering while participating in a sport or other strenuous physical activity (this includes water-based activities). If you're entering and exiting the fitness facility, in the change room or washroom, your face covering should be worn.
Yes, the definition of face covering section is highlighted in section1(9) of the Regional by-law. For the purposes of this by-law, a face covering shall mean a mask or other face covering, including a bandana or scarf constructed of cloth, linen or other similar fabric that fits securely to the head and is large enough to completely and comfortably cover the mouth, nose and chin without gaping.
Face shields or plastic mouth shields are not a substitute for masks / face coverings as they don't filter respiratory droplets.
No. Wearing a face covering only applies to enclosed public places or where physical distancing is a challenge, such as in line-ups to enter businesses or when leaving a table in an outdoor restaurant.
Proper handling of a face covering is important to protect you from this virus.
If the face covering is doing its job, it will block the virus from infecting you, or others, so it may have the virus on it after use.
Don't do the following:
Remember, wearing a non-medical face covering or mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must also clean your hands often, practise physical distancing and stay home if you're sick.
Niagara businesses looking to get masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to manage the risks of COVID-19 should visit the Niagara PPE Provider Directory to help you find what you need.