The 6 Stages of Mask Wearing

Dear Friends,

Many governments (federal, provincial/state, municipalities) around the globe are changing their mask requirements daily. For most countries, the stages of mask requirements seem to go like this:

The Stages of Masks Wearing During COVID

  • Stage 1: Mask are not required or recommended for the general public but recommended for Healthcare workers. 
  • Stage 2: Masks are not required, but some sort of face covering is recommended.  Healthcare workers at all levels must wear medical grade masks, aside from administration staff. Government employees are to be wearing masks; non-medical is sufficient.
  • Stage 3: Masks are required for the general public and any sort of covering works if it covers the nose and mouth. Masks are not required when outdoors. All healthcare workers, including admin staff, should wear medical grade masks.
  • Stage 4: Masks are required indoors for all and must have at least 3 layers of protection. Cloth or fabric that do not have a filter are not recommended. Masks when outdoors is optional.
  • Stage 5: Medical grade masks are required indoors. Any type of mask is highly recommended outdoors.
  • Stage 6: Medical Grade Masks are recommended indoors and outdoors.

Need to get Mask Wearing Stage 5/6 ASAP!

Depending on which country, province, state, or city you are reading this email, you are at Stage 1 to 6. 

This week many countries in Europe have moved to Stage 5 and requiring its citizens to wear medical grade masks when indoors. Stage 6 may follow.

It seems that Canada and the US continue to watch Europe and Asia, believing the same spread cannot happen here and then we end up doing the same very thing, and always a bit too late.

Different parts of Canada are toggling between Stage 3 and 4. Most of the US is still at Stage 2, but it could be argued even Stage 1.

The evidence is clear.  COVID is spreading, still extremely fast. The vaccine roll out is slow and we are still months away from any resemblance of a heard community, which experts say is needed to live with COVID safely.

New variants from the UK, South Africa and the US continue to show up as COVID-19 mutates.  We are not being safe nor as safe as the evidence says we should. 

We need to get as many people wearing medical grade masks ASAP. We should be at Stage 5 in our mask wearing evolution. Many of us and our communities are not.

Supply and Demand vs Scientific Evidence: Wear a Medical Mask.

For months, as we were staggering in Stage 1-2 of mask requirements, governments have told us that we only needed basic face coverings.  The worry was there was not enough supply to support our essential workers with medical grade masks. 

Governments did not want to tell the general public they need medical masks when our doctors and nurses may be stuck without supply.  Valid reasons for sure when supply is limited. Not necessarily fair, but a valid decision for a government to make given the situation at hand.

Once supply began to build up and boatloads of masks were coming from Asia, finally we were “allowed” to wear medical masks, not just face coverings – but it was optional and not recommended. Again, not to raise any alarms and push improving supply back down to the brink. 

We were told in fact we do not need medical masks, but the evidence all along said a basic mask was not enough.

Now, in North America we have more supply. Domestic manufactures like Oliberte exist and in full capacity.  So why not make medical masks mandatory?

Non-medical masks are not bad, but they are not medical grade masks. While every mask provides you some sort of protection, the evidence is in front of us. Every notable infectious disease specialist is recommending that we should all be wearing medical-grade masks. Some governments have acted and mandated, others have not. 

There is still a fear that if we tell everyone to buy medical grade masks, not only would all the non-medical masks, cloth masks, cool designed masks be useless, but we may have such a surge in demand for medical masks, essential workers will not have access again. Or what does that mean to the billions of stockpiles of “non-medical” masks governments and companies have bought from around the world. 

But supporting domestic manufactures, like Oliberte, ensures we have the appropriate supply here at home. That is why we focus our factory production on making ASTM Level 1, 2 and 3 medical masks 7 days a week in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. 

Supporting Domestic Mask Makers…To be Continued.

The pivot to mandate medical grade masks is where supporting a domestic manufacturing base becomes so important, but we will save that for the next update in a few weeks.

As always, this is my interpretation of how I see things.  It may not be a shared opinion but as a face mask manufacture it is hard to continue to watch others act swiftly while others continue to be complacent. This is especially hard when I make the very product that can keep your friends, your family and you, yourself safe.

Keep safe, stay strong. Stay together. Wear a Medical Grade Mask!


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