Everything you need to know about the new 3 layer mask recommendation by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

At the bi-weekly pandemic briefing in Ottawa on Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam increased her recommendation for face coverings to consist of three layers. Non-medical masks should have a designated filter layer between two tightly knit cloth layers for optimal protection. As winter sets in, the importance of practical face coverings with proper seals has become even more critical as people are forced indoors to avoid the cold and physical distancing becomes more complicated or not possible in some spaces. 

Canada is now seeing over 3,000 new cases per day, the highest numbers announced since the start of the pandemic. As numbers continue to rise, Canadians can expect restrictions to get tighter and preventative measures to evolve and adapt as new research is presented. Three-layer masks are now recommended by both the World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada, meaning that with the information and research currently available, the best way to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 is by ensuring your mask contains a filter.

Currently, nearly any type of nose and mouth covering with a seal to the face is accepted when entering businesses, working within proximity to other people or using social facilities. However, Dr. Tam announced at the briefing, “to improve the level of protection that can be provided by non-medical masks or face coverings, we are recommending that you consider a three-layer non-medical mask.” It should be noted this does not, by any means, render one and two-layer masks ineffective, and they do not need to be thrown away. However, three-layer masks are proven to be the most effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

3 layer mask
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A 3 layer mask consists of two outer layers made of tightly knit fabrics like cotton, spandex and polyester with an inner layer made of non-woven filter material such as polypropylene as an extra layer of protection. The upgrade comes from recently evolved research indicating three-layer masks better prevent COVID-19 transmission by up to 30 percent.

“This is an additional recommendation to add another layer of protection. The science of masks has accelerated during this particular pandemic. So, we’re just learning again as we go,” said Tam. “I do think that because it’s winter because we’re all going inside, we’re learning more about droplets and aerosols.” Dr. Tam also urged Canadians to wear well-fitted masks covering the nose, mouth and chin without leaving gaps.

While facial coverings and physical distancing requirements have been standing for months, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t close to being over. As the weather turns cold and cases rise, regulations will change. Organizations have continually adapted to taking necessary measures for the foreseeable future and understand the importance of uniform face coverings.

As face-mask research evolves, we can expect government regulations to be updated accordingly. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Brian Conway warns that single-ply fashion masks often offer little protection by not covering the mouth and nose or not fitting closely to the face to create a tight seal, completely covering the nose and mouth, while remaining tight to the face across all edges including cheeks, chin and bridge of your nose. Double layer masks are still about 60% effective and acceptable. Still, 3 layer masks add an extra layer of protection to prevent microdroplets’ transmission and increase effectiveness to 80-90%, according to Dr. Jing Wang of the University of British Columbia. Reusable 3 layer masks are recommended to be washed every day to be most effective. 

Custom PPE Canada provides quality, effective, breathable custom reusable 3 layer face masks for North American businesses and organizations, including the best-selling Adjustable Reusable 3 Layer Filter Fabric Mask. All orders can be customized with your branding or logo, with 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Our high-quality custom branded face masks help you stay safe while adding a personal touch, like your corporate, school, or team logo or branding. With the recent mask recommendation upgrade announcement from Canada’s Health leaders at PHAC, make sure your organization is prepared with custom branded 3 layer masks for all team members. Custom PEE Canada 3 layer masks are designed for optimal performance and comfort while sporting your team logo or brand. Visit customppe.ca to place an order for custom branded face masks, including the newly recommended 3 layer mask with a PHAC filter.

three layer face mask
Credit: Custom PPE Canada