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Masks or face coverings in Ontario - What you need to know

On October 2, 2020, the Government of Ontario amended O. Reg 364/20 to require the wearing of masks and face coverings in many Ontario workplaces.
The amendment requires that “the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area…”

Where am I required to wear a mask or face covering?

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)
  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public
  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

When do I not have to wear a mask or face covering?

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering.

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.


Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You do not need to wear a face covering 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

Correctional institutions

You do not need to wear a face covering if you are in a:

  • correctional institution
  • custody program for young persons in conflict with the law
  • detention program for young persons in conflict with the law


You do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.

Residences and dwellings

You do not need to wear a face covering in:

  • university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 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)

Performing or rehearsing

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are performing or rehearsing for a:

  • film or television production
  • concert
  • artistic event
  • theatrical performance
Dos and Don'ts?


  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • practice good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering
  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • avoid touching the covering while using it
  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others
  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask
What about Municipal requirements?

Most municipalities have their own requirements when it comes to mask signage and policies.  Please check your municipality's by-law for masks or call one of our Business Counsellors at 1 888-234-2232 for assistance.


Are there any grants for PPE for my business?

Yes there is a grant for PPE for very small businesses with two to nine employees. The grant is for $1,000.00.  For more details see The Government of Ontario website.

What is the definition of a workplace?

As per the Occupational Health and Safety Act  (OHSA) – Workplace is any location an employee reports to perform their duties. (this is the definition under OHSA: “workplace” means any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works; (“lieu de travail”)