Should you be wearing a cloth face mask at the grocery store? Health officials weigh in
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Canadian officials say they want medical-grade masks reserved for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some Windsor residents are choosing to wear a fabric mask when out in public.
Health officials say it’s a good idea, but warn it could give you a false sense of security.
Doctors say fabric masks can be a good way to protect those around you when social distancing is tricky, like at the grocery store.
“Wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you,” says Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
But they fall short of recommending Canadians start wearing them any time they leave the house.
“There could be some benefit, but there could be some risk that come with it homemade masks,”says Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed.
Ahmed worries non-medical masks will give people a false sense of security and they will become complacent about Covid-19 safety measures.
“Before putting on a mask, wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly, secure the elastic loops around your ears, ensure the mask completely covers your nose and mouth and there are no gaps,” explains Ahmed. “Do not touch the mask while wearing and remove it by the elastics or ties, wash your hands thoroughly and throw away in a secure and proper way.”
LaSalle resident Allison Tonkin started sewing fabric face masks in early March.
“I just saw that it might come to this, and I thought even if no one accepts them at hospitals or no one accepts them publicly, what if someone in this house gets sick and I would have to take care of them, and I would have to protect myself so I could put a mask on them,” says Tonkin.
The Souchereau family spent their weekend downloading a pattern and making fabric masks at home. Michelle Souchereau too understands the mask is preventative and not so much protective, but she says it did come in handy right away.
“The first time I wore this was yesterday at the grocery store and I’m so glad I wore because I was walking downtown he’s aisle a person turned their head and coughed without covering their mouth, so to me, this is a little bit better than nothing,” says Souchereau.
Medical officers of health continue to stress and reiterate the best way to protect ourselves is to stay at home and only go out when it’s absolutely necessary, like for groceries.
They say to stay at least two meters away from the people around you, cough into your elbow and wash your hands as soon as getting back home.