COVID-19: The ultimate guide to face masks
Face masks are now mandatory throughout Victoria. Here’s everything you need to know.
Masks are now mandatory across Victoria as COVID-19 infections continue to surge across the state. All Victorians are required by law to wear a face mask whenever they are outside the home. This includes when at work (if it can't be done from home), on public transport, at the supermarket or even walking the dog.
As of 12 October face masks that cover the mouth and nose are the only acceptable coverings. Scarves, bandanas, face shields, loose snoods, gaiters or neck warmers are no longer considered a sufficient face covering.
While masks are no substitute for vigilant social distancing and hand hygiene, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton says they can help reduce community transmission of the virus by up to 60 per cent.
Premier Daniel Andrews says, “Staying at home if you feel unwell is still the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus but wearing a cloth mask provides an additional physical barrier, adding one more layer of protection for you and those around you.”
He says crucially people must stay home if they experience even the mildest symptoms and have a COVID-19 test as soon as possible.
The new laws reflect the latest evidence from international medical experts and respond to surging community transmission in Victoria. Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely has conducted modelling that shows wearing masks will bring Victoria closer to a zero transmission rate in a shorter time. “All masks help, some more than others,” he says. And crucially, to be effective, they must be worn and handled correctly."