Skip to main content

Face coverings

From 11:59pm Wednesday 22 July 2020 if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire you must wear a face covering when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. 

A face covering needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth. It could be a face mask or shield.

  • A face mask is recommended, and includes any paper or textile covering designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer. It does not have to be medical grade and you can make your own. There are instructions on how to make a mask below and on the DHHS website - How to make a mask.
  • If a face mask is not available other forms of face covering may be used such as a scarf or bandana.
  • A face shield means any film made from plastic or other transparent material designed or made to be worn like a visor, covering from the wearer’s forehead to below the chin area and wrapping around the sides of the wearer’s face, to provide the wearer protection.

Wearing a face covering helps keep you and others safe. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread from close contact with a person with coronavirus (COVID-19). Face coverings help stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) but feels well.

The best way to protect other people against coronavirus (COVID-19) is keeping 1.5 metres apart, wash your hands often, and cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue. Face coverings add an additional protective physical barrier to protect you and your loved ones.

A face covering is not required in some circumstances including:

  • Infants and children under the age of 12 years.
  • A person who is affected by a relevant medical condition – including problems with their breathing, a serious condition of the face, a disability or a mental health condition.
  • Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to that person’s health and safety related to their work, as determined through OH&S guidelines.
  • Persons whose professions require clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting.
  • Professional sportspeople when training or competing.
  • When the individual is doing any exercise or physical activity where they are out of breath or puffing; examples include jogging or running but not walking. You must carry a face covering on you and wear it when you finish exercising.
  • When directed to remove the face covering to ascertain identity.
  • The person is travelling in a vehicle by themselves or with other members of their household.
  • When consuming food, drink or medication.
  • When undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face covering may be worn.
  • During emergencies.

You must carry a face covering with you when leaving home for one of the four reasons, even if you don’t need to wear it while undertaking your current activity, for example you can take your face covering off to eat.

The Victorian Government is providing free reusable face masks via council services and community agencies to:

  • people living with chronic conditions
  • people who are homeless, living in public housing and crisis accommodation
  • people living with a disability
  • people using family violence and mental health services
  • people using drug and alcohol services
  • refugees 
  • Aboriginal people

People who are eligible will be able to get a free mask from Whittlesea Community Connections (WCC).

To find out when they are available and if you’re eligible, call WCC on 9401 6666.

For more information visit

Use DHHS's guide to make a cloth mask (PDF) that covers your nose and mouth and is made of washable fabric.

Tegar, Nancy and Amy from The Social Studio have produced a video to show the easy steps to make one yourself.