Create Simple Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19. Here’s How.

YELLOWKNIFE 7 April 2020 – The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) recognizes the evolving discussion on the use of face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The OCPHO now recommends residents use re-usable or disposable cloth face coverings when in public places.

Residents of the NWT are advised that materials available from home can be used to create effective, do-it-yourself face coverings.

Purpose of the Advice

While face coverings cannot prevent all contact with virus-containing droplets, they have been found to be effective in limiting the ability of these droplets to spread further from someone who may not be aware they have the virus.

This is a way to help each other help ourselves – if everyone wears face coverings while in public, we can limit the spread of COVID-19.

Previous Recommendations and Orders Apply

This does NOT replace the need for everyone to

  • keep distance of at least two metres apart,
  • stay home if you’re feeling even a little bit sick,
  • avoid touching your face
  • wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or use alcohol based sanitizer when putting on the mask and taking it off
  • clean & disinfect contaminated high touch surfaces and
  • cover your mouth in your elbow if you cough or sneeze if not wearing a facial covering. 

Limitations of Advice

This advice is intended for the general public, not employers.

Employers are responsible for completing their own risk assessments, having their own exposure control plans, and providing the right protective equipment based on those assessments. Please consult WSCC as needed.

Non-medical masks or facial coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Cloth face coverings must:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape with hot temperatures
  • If cloth material is not available then disposable material such as multiple layers of tissue and paper towels can be used but should be thrown out after each use
  • Use a clean covering each time
  • Put used coverings in a clean plastic bag and wash between uses

What do I Need?

There are many ways to create effective fabric masks. At-minimum, we recommend:

  • At least two 10 x 6 inches of 100% cotton. Acotton blend may be used if 100% cotton is not available. Polyester or nylon is not recommended
  • Material to create loops to go around your ears – fabric or rubber bands are common
  • Facial tissue, paper towel or coffee filters

For some approaches, a sewing machine is useful, but many sew-free methods exist.

Methods and Tutorials

More information: