The province's chief medical officer of health says it's important for Nova Scotians to understand face masks are only part of the prevention package for COVID-19.
Earlier today, federal health officials fully recommended the wearing of non-medical masks in public spots where social distancing isn't always possible, like grocery stores.
But at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Robert Strang stressed Nova Scotians still have to use cough etiquette, wash hands frequently and clean high touch surfaces.
"It's important that people don't get a false sense of reassurance ...masks alone will not prevent the spread of the virus in our communities," Strang said.
He said the mask needs to fit securely over both the mouth and nose in order to be effective and it shouldn't be touched until it's time to take it off.
"It needs to be of a material that is washable and can keep its shape after being washed, so things that are made out of cotton or linen," he explained. "It's important that people don't share masks, so if you're in a household, everyone should have their individual mask."
Strang said today's recommendation is based on evolving evidence on the effectiveness of non-medical masks to reduce the spread of the virus.
Although mask-wearing isn't mandatory, he said people need to be prepared for the possibility that some stores or services -- such as nail salons or health care providers -- may start requiring them.
He added the first wave of COVID-19 is winding down, but that doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
"This is our new normal, and the new normal is very different from what it was in 2019," said Strang.