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Face masks also beneficial outdoors, says Canada's top doctor

Last Updated Jul 29, 2020 at 11:52 am MST

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam holds a press conference on Parliament Hill amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA  – Canada’s top doctor is encouraging Canadians to use face masks more frequently–not just when you’re in crowded indoor spaces.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says physical distancing is still the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But with more and more Canadians taking advantage of the summer weather–hitting hiking trails, camping, or heading to the cabin or cottage–Tam says physical distancing might not always be all that practical.

WATCH: Social distancing harder as Rocky Mountain trails get busier

It’s not a bad idea to add a second layer of protection when you leave the house, says Tam, whether you’re going to be inside or outside.

“Physical distancing is not enough protection on its own when we are in closed spaces, crowded spaces or in close contact with people outside of our social bubble,” she writes in her daily update.

“In these situations, whether indoors or outdoors, we need an additional layer of protection by wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.”

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Canada will soon surpass 115,000 cases of COVID-19. Nearly 9,000 Canadians have died from the virus.

Tam says with constant reminders to stay apart from one another and wear a mask, many people may be feeling fatigued, but we can stay connected while still being safe.

“Physical distancing should not mean emotional distancing. During this pandemic, we should all try our very best to stay connected – even while staying physically apart.”