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Nova Scotia mandatory masks rule takes effect Friday

Click to play video: 'Mandatory mask-wearing in Nova Scotia begins Friday' Mandatory mask-wearing in Nova Scotia begins Friday
Starting tomorrow, masks will be mandatory in all public indoor spaces in Nova Scotia. Health officials advise having two to three masks on hand each day to switch them out as needed. Alicia Draus has more on where to find masks and why we need them – Jul 30, 2020

As of Friday, mandatory masks will be required in indoor public places in Nova Scotia, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus as the province reopens.

This includes retail businesses, shopping centres, restaurants and bars, places of worship, event and conference centres as well as common areas in office buildings.

The province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang has said that masks are “an important part of the whole package of public health measures” and that they are an important tool “to minimize the impact of a second wave of COVID-19.”

Read more: Masks now mandatory on Halifax Transit

There are some exceptions, including children under the age of 2, children between 2 and 4 when their caregiver can’t get them to wear them and people with a valid medical reason.

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People also won’t be required to wear them when eating or drinking, or while exercising. But for the most part, people are excepted to be wearing non-medical masks in public.

“We know if we’re in places that people can’t socially distance or that we may be in closer contact, wearing a mask really helps contain your own droplets and it helps prevent the spread,” said Holly Gillis, Public Health manager with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Masks should cover the nose and mouth, fit snug on the side of your face and go under your chin. You should also avoid adjusting your mask once on, but if need be you can do so by adjusting the straps around your ears, or pulling it from the bottom.

Click to play video: 'DIY: Steps to sew your own face mask' DIY: Steps to sew your own face mask
DIY: Steps to sew your own face mask – Apr 10, 2020

Reusable masks should be washed regularly. Health Canada advises to wash them in the washing machine using a hot cycle and then drying them thoroughly. If washed by hand they should be washed with soap and hot water and be left to dry completely before wearing.

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Gillis says people are advised to carry around multiple masks in case they need to change them out through the day.

“If you notice it’s damp or you can visibly see dirt, it may start to smell from your droplets, that may be a good time to change it out,” she said.

Free Masks Available

All public libraries and 23 museums will now be carrying reusable cloth masks for Nova Scotians without ready access to masks, the province announced Thursday.

The masks will be free of charge, and each person can request up to two masks per each member of their immediate family.

“For those who can’t supply their own masks, we are making a limited number of reusable cloth masks available at provincial museum and public library sites across the province,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a news release.

“We want to ensure everyone in Nova Scotia has easy access to a mask when and where they need it.”

Elizabeth Guitard started Masks for Humanity to provide reusable masks to anyone in need. Alicia Draus / Global News

Efforts have already been made to provide masks to those in need. In April, Elizabeth Guitard started making masks and distributing them for free. She put out a call for volunteers to help make and distribute masks and created the organization Masks for Humanity. Since April they have made and distributed more than 10,000 masks across the province.

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Guitard credits volunteers and Nova Scotians with helping her out. She says since she started the organization has received numerous donations, in the way of funds as well as fabric.

“Without that we would not have gotten to the number of free masks that we did.”

Volunteers took a break as the COVID-19 numbers dwindled in June and July, but with the mandatory mask rule taking effect they have once again ramped up efforts and have made thousands of masks for those in need.

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