We could have Covid-19 but not know it. Wearing a cloth mask to stop unknowingly infecting those around us in our community.  Wearing a mask can speed up Covid-19 elimination so we can get back to normality sooner. 

Masks4allOtago has been set up by health professionals as part of the Masks4all movement worldwide.
We are advocating for ‘mass masking’- wearing cloth masks in public spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g. in supermarkets and on public transport). This idea has the backing of the respected epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker who has urge the government to seriously consider mass masking as a way to speed up the elimination of Covid-19 from NZ.
We could have Covid-19 but not know it. Up to half of those infected can have no symptoms, not feel sick, yet still be able to spread the virus to those around them.  The virus is spread via droplets when we talk, and any layer of cloth in front of our nose and mouth can reduce up to 99% of droplet spread.  A mask can also serve as a signal of an ongoing pandemic and remind us to keep up with our hand washing and to maintain social distance.


From the most recent evidence on Covid-19, we know that:

  • Covid-19 can spread by droplets when we talk, yawn, sing or even breath.
  • the droplets can spread further than the 2m distancing currently advised.
  • around half of those infected can show no symptoms.  These people do not feel sick, but can still spread the virus to other people.

A layer of cloth in front of our nose and mouth can reduce the droplet spread by up to 99%.  You could have Covid-19 but not know it.  Wearing a mask will stop those droplets infecting other people in your community. If other people in the community do the same for you, then everyone has a reduced chance of catching the virus.

Due to shortages, surgical masks and N95 should be reserved for front line workers and other essential worker. However, simple homemade cloth masks are very effective at reducing droplet spread.  We are therefore advising cloth coverings for the public to use in situations where social distancing is difficult (e.g. in supermarkets, public transport etc).

There has been no evidence that a damp mask can transmit Covid-19.  However, the masks should be used with good hand hygiene AND maintaining social distance.  Wash your hands before you put your mask on, if you accidentally touch your mask, wash your hands.  Take mask off via ear loops or ties, avoid touching the facepiece.  Wash your hands after you have taken the mask off.

Wear a mask not for self protection, but to protect others in our community as an act of Social Solidarity. 


Wearing a mask is not for self protection, but to stop us unwittingly spreading the virus to others.  For us to speed up Covid-19 elimination,  we need at least 80% of the population to be wearing them when out in public during this pandemic.  50% usage can help reduce the spread by around half. Our mission is therefore to get as many people wearing them when out in public as possible.

Our aim is to:

  • Spread the message – “My mask protects you, your mask protects me.” Help us by wearing a cloth mask in the supermarkets and by posting and sharing a picture of yourself in a cloth mask.
  • Provide resources to make your own cloth mask
  • Distribute free cloth masks from mask donors