WINDSOR, ONT. -- Keys, wallet, face mask? Good to go.

With a mandatory face mask policy in place for Windsor-Essex, before leaving the house to go to the store having a face covering on hand is a new normal.

According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, in order to safely wear a face mask a person should:

  • Wash their hands before putting it on and after taking it off
  • Make sure it fits to cover both the nose and mouth
  • Regularly wash the cloth mask in the laundry
  • Clean surfaces that a dirty mask has touched

The health unit states wearing a face mask can help protect others from your germs and when worn properly, can be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 from person to person.

It also helps to prevent people from touching their nose and mouth and can offer protection to others if two metres of physical distance cannot be maintained.

Face masks should be washed regularly and should not be used on children under two years old and should not be shared.

“A face mask, if worn properly, should cover the entire mouth and nose capturing and containing respiratory droplets that come out of an individual’s mouth when speaking or coughing,” Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said during Wednesday’s daily COVID-19 briefing.

Ahmed said face shields should not be used as a substitute for a mask and is instead a piece of personal protection equipment.

“A shield does not hold and contain the respiratory droplets of the person wearing it, nor does it completely protect the wearer,” he said.

In addition to wearing a face mask, the health unit also recommends regular hand washing, practice physical distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and avoiding close contact with people who are ill, among other precautions.