Q&A: Masks

Are visitors required to wear masks?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has recommended wearing homemade non-medical masks or face coverings in the community when it is not possible to consistently maintain a two-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings. 

In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, we currently have very low rates of community transmission of COVID-19 and have managed to flatten the curve better than many other jurisdictions in Canada. Because of that, we are telling the public that they may choose to wear a non-medical mask when in public, but we are not recommending it.

Non-medical masks may prevent individuals from exposing others to their droplets, but will not necessarily decrease their own risk of infection. Any non-medical mask will have minimal effect as a protective measure if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing, and could offer a false sense of security. 

NOTE: All health-care workers whose roles require direct contact with patients, clients and residents are required to wear surgical/procedural masks, eye protection and gloves when providing direct care to patients, clients and residents across VCH. This includes:

  • ​All staff, medical staff and contracted staff with direct contact with patients, clients and residents in acute care, critical care, long-term care and community care.
  • Consult services going down to emergency departments with direct contact with patients, clients and residents  

This guidance does not apply to staff who are not providing direct care to patients, clients and residents. 

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