Canadians should wear masks as an ‘added layer of protection,’ says Tam

Canada’s chief public health officer says Canadians should wear a mask as an “added layer of protection” whenever physical distancing is not possible.

Dr. Theresa Tam provided the updated advice during her daily news conference in Ottawa today.

“For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum,” she said.

“In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere.”

Tam said the new guideline comes as provinces begin to allow businesses and services to reopen, bringing more people out of their homes.

Asked if the recommendation should have come earlier in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tam said public health advice is evolving based on the science and on steps provinces are taking to reopen their economies.

“We need to flexibly change our measures as we get more information,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears a mask at a repatriation ceremony for six Canadian Armed Forces members killed in a helicopter crash off of Greece Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

PM to wear mask in public

Tam said measures to suppress the disease through the summer are essential to buy more time for research and innovation on medical therapies and vaccine development.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has started wearing a mask in public in situations where he could be in close proximity to people.

“That’s my personal choice. I think that’s what is aligned with what public health is recommending,” he said. “I think we all need to adjust to what works in our circumstances and keep safety at the forefront of what we’re doing.”

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his decision to wear a mask in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says wearing a mask is his personal choice and he wears one whenever he’s unable to keep two metres’ distance from others. 1:04

Trudeau said he will wear a mask to in-person sittings of Parliament but will remove his mask once at his desk to engage in parliamentary debate.

He was first seen wearing a mask in public during a May 6 Canadian Armed Forces repatriation ceremony.

Trudeau said again that the best measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 are to stay two metres apart, to stay at home whenever possible and to wash hands regularly and frequently.

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