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Saskatchewan’s top doctor recommends wearing reusable cloth masks come the fall

Saskatchewan’s top doctor recommends wearing reusable cloth masks come the fall
WATCH: As gatherings move indoors and social distancing becomes challenging, Dr. Saqib Shahab recommends everyone has four or five reusable cloth masks at home. Allison Bamford has the details.

Saskatchewan’s top doctor is recommending residents add another accessory to their fall wardrobe: a cloth mask.

Until now, Dr. Saqib Shahab said he hasn’t “been saying too much about masks” because in most current situations people don’t need to wear one in the fight against coronavirus.

Safety measures in public places, like Plexiglass and one-way aisles, as well as outdoor gatherings make it easier to be physically distant, according to the province’s chief medical health officer.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer discusses provincial reopening plan

“Everything is laid out so well that you don’t really need to use a mask when you’re out and about,” Shahab said.

“You’re not coming close to two metres outdoors. Those situations right now, you don’t need a mask.”

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However, that will change in the fall.

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As gatherings move indoors and social distancing becomes challenging, he recommends everyone gets four or five reusable cloth masks, keeping one with you at all times.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do when Saskatchewan enters Phase 4.1 of reopening plan

“Certainly in the fall we are going to see more mask use and that’s what’s going to keep us open for the most part without having to go into lockdown,” he said.

People should wear a mask “when they feel the need,” according to Shahab, whether they’re on a crowded bus or in a busy store.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cloth masks can act as a COVID-19 control measure when physical distancing isn’t possible.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Should masks be mandatory? Alberta doctors, Hinshaw weigh in

WHO recommends people use a three-layer mask. Shahab said he agrees.

“You are protecting others and if others are doing that, then they are protecting you,” he said.

Shahab said residents should find masks now, because once the second wave hits, masks will likely be as hard to find as they were the first time around.

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Ask an Expert: Face masks 101