"For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum", she said.
"It is an added layer of protection", she said. "And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere".
Tam said initially it was believed the novel coronavirus was only spreading from people showing symptoms. Tam said mandatory mask use across Canada doesn't make sense because the risk is far different in the Yukon or Prince Edward Island than it is in Montreal or Toronto. That advice is also now responding to the fact that, with more provinces taking cautious steps toward reopening their economies, more Canadians are coming into closer proximity to one another in public.
Autism Canada family support representative Dominique Payment said adults and children with the spectrum disorder have trouble with sensory processing, as well as tactile, olfactory and nervous-system hypersensitivity that wearing a mask could aggravate.
She said the "tried and true" public health measures like case identification, contact tracing, physical distancing, frequent hand washing and isolating are still important but the wearing non-medical masks is "an added layer on top of that", particularly as more people begin to go outside. It is for you to protect others. That understanding has changed, as it is now known people can transmit the virus days before symptoms show up.More news: Hamsters help show how effective masks can be in stopping coronavirus transmission
Several businesses in the Lower Mainland have already asked customers to wear masks when entering their premises, including the T&T Supermarket at Coquitlam Centre and several Starbucks locations.
Tam said measures to suppress the disease through the summer are essential to buy more time for research and innovation on medical therapies and vaccine development.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he prefers to keep two metres away from people.
"Don't assume that someone who isn't wearing a mask or is wearing something different doesn't have an actual reason for it".
Trudeau said he will wear a mask to in-person sittings of Parliament but will remove his mask once at his desk to engage in parliamentary debate.More news: Lana Del Rey announces new album, responds to criticism of "glamorising abuse"
He was first seen wearing a mask in public during a May 6 Canadian Armed Forces repatriation ceremony.
Statistics Canada has also provided 1,700 interviewers who can make 20,000 calls per day to help with contact-tracing efforts, Trudeau said.
As authorities prepare for a possible new surge of COVID-19 infections in the fall, key to controlling future outbreaks will be individual actions that citizens take, including wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible, Trudeau said.
"If done properly, tracing applications can achieve both privacy and public health goals at the same time". More than 50 countries have made wearing a mask mandatory.More news: Suppliers revealed for Apple's iPhone 12 camera