Dear neighbours,

Wearing a mask helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and helps protect people who are around you. Since some people may have the COVID-19 virus and not know it, everyone should wear a mask when they go into an area where they might come into contact with other people. When you wear a mask, you are helping to protect other people. When other people wear a mask, they are helping to protect you. It is now mandatory to wear a mask in many indoor public spaces, in common areas of multi-unit residential buildings and some outdoor public spaces, as designated.

Wearing a mask does not replace other protective measures including physical distancing, hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, and staying home when you are sick.

During these uncertain times I understand the barriers to purchasing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are in need of a free reusable cloth mask, please do not hesitate to be in touch with my office at 613-580- 2488 or by email at jeancloutierott@ottawa.ca. We have a small supply of cloth masks available that were purchased through the United Way Facing Forward campaign that we would be happy to offer you.

Inevitably, we will run out of reusable face masks to distribute through my office. However, the Human Needs Task Force at the City of Ottawa is working hard to ensure those who need a cloth mask but do not have the means to buy or access one, are connected to a local resource centre where they can go to pick up a free one. If you prefer to access a free mask through this team, you are welcome to contact them at call 613-580-2424 ext. 26753 or email HNTF@ottawa.ca

Alternatively, if you are looking to buy a mask, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website for a list of vendors who sell masks. Or, go to Health Canada’s website for how to make a homemade, no-sew mask out of a t-shirt or bandana.