Original ArticlesThe COVID-19 Mask Toward an Understanding of Social Meanings and ResponsesSt-Amant, Oona PhD, RN; Rummens, J. Anneke PhD; Parada, Henry PhD, MSW; Wilson-Mitchell, Karline DrNP, RM, RN, CNM, FACNM Author Information Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Drs St-Amant and Rummens); Immigration and Settlement Studies Graduate Program, Social Work, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Parada); and Midwifery Education Program, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Wilson-Mitchell). Correspondence: Oona St-Amant, PhD, RN, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada ([email protected]). This work was funded by a Ryerson University Faculty of Community Services Rapid Response Grant to COVID-19. The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article. Advances in Nursing Science: April/June 2022 - Volume 45 - Issue 2 - p 100-113 doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000393 Buy CE Test Metrics Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed unprecedented restrictions on everyday life. Unlike lockdown or shelter-in-place measures, the facemask has emerged as an empowering response to the public spread of the virus, permitting some degree of return to prepandemic life—such as school or work—by disrupting transmission that would otherwise occur. And yet, this utilitarian tool has attracted considerable controversy and polarized opinions. This article uses Blumer's adaptation of symbolic interactionism as a theoretical roadmap to examine the various meanings ascribed to the facemask and its usage. We discuss how it is socially perceived and consider implications for health care providers within the Canadian social context. © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.