Masks in the Workplace Guidance

Many tasks performed by workers should not require personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection against COVID-19 unless they are in situations similar to healthcare workers. Non-PPE controls should be put into place before masks are considered.

The following measures are most effective to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace:

  • Staying home when ill, with related policies around supported sick leave
  • Working from home
  • Physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet)
  • Washing your hands and not touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with tissues or your sleeve
  • Enhanced cleaning of commonly touched surfaces

It is critical that these measures continue.

At this time, PEI does not appear to have cases resulting from community transmission of COVID-19. However, during Phases 1 and 2 of Renew PEI Together, employees and employers who cannot maintain physical distancing while interacting with each other or with members of the public are strongly recommended to wear a non-medical mask if it is safe to do so while working. For short periods of time when physical distancing is not possible, wearing a non-medical mask may protect those around you.

If non-medical masks or face coverings are used in the workplace, they should not:

  • be worn for extended periods of time
  • be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials
  • be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues
  • be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials
  • be shared with others
  • impair vision or interfere with tasks, or otherwise pose a hazard to the employee while working

Remember that non-medical masks will not prevent COVID-19 spread without consistent and strict adherence to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent handwashing and physical distancing. Wearing a non-medical mask does not mean you can back off the public health measures that we know work to protect you; no mask will ever replace physical distancing.

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