Mandatory wearing of masks in NWT

Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces is now mandatory in the NWT. This Public Health Order is expected to remain in place through the winter of 2021/2022 to provide more protection from COVID-19 as people spend more time indoors for extended periods of time. .

Here are the exceptions:

  • Children under two years old
  • Children two years old and above but under ten years old cannot bear to wear masks
  • People cannot put on or take off masks without help
  • People who cannot wear masks for medical reasons
  • Persons providing or receiving care or support, where a mask may interfere with that care or support
  • People who don’t wear masks due to an emergency
  • People who temporarily remove their masks for identification purposes
  • Persons approved by the Director of Public Health are not required to wear masks

Different types of masks are available for public use.

Medical masks

Medical masks are needed in healthcare settings. They are also currently recommended for the following:

  • Anyone who has tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Carers of people who have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • People who live in overcrowded environments with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • People at risk for more severe illness or consequences from COVID-19
  • People at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their living circumstances

Medical masks and respirators sold in Canada are required to meet established standards for filtration, breathing, and liquid resistance.

When used in occupational settings, workers are sometimes required to wear these masks formally. However, when used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a community setting, equipping this type of mask is not a requirement.

Medical masks and respirators generally provide the best protection against COVID-19. It is recommended that the following people use medical masks or respirators if possible.

Non-medical masks

Non-medical masks are very popular. They are masks that can be purchased or made yourself. Non-medical masks are not regulated so it is important to understand how they work best. Non-medical masks should:

  • Fit
    • Large enough to cover the nose, mouth and chin without slits and without allowing air to escape from the edges
    • Fasten to the head with a tie, lanyard or earloop
    • Be comfortable and do not require frequent adjustments
    • Retains shape after washing and drying (non-medical masks only)
  • There are many classes
  • Two layers of breathable, tightly woven fabric, such as cotton and an effective middle filter


Face coverings that are not recommended include Face coverings, scarves (to keep the neck warm), scarves and scarves.

For more information:

Healthy Habits – Masks

COVID-19 information: How to put on and take off a mask

COVID-19 Information How to put on and remove a mask and eye protection

Learn how to make cloth masks

Wear a mask in indoor public spaces


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