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Masks

From 11 October, all Victorians must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home, no matter where they live. A fitted face mask must cover nose and mouth. Face shields, bandanas, scarves or loose snoods, loose buffs or loos neck gaiters on their own will no longer be considered sufficient.

All Victorians must wear a face mask when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. 

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

  • All Victorians must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home, no matter where they live. As restrictions ease and movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important. 
  • You must wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth. This means that face shields, bandanas, or scarves or loose snoods, loose buffs or loose neck gaiters on their own will no longer be considered a sufficient face covering.
  • A face mask with three layers is the option recommended by the Chief Health Officer, as it provides the best protection for you and others. 

Read more about face masks on the DHHS website.

Wearing a face mask helps keep you and others safe. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread from close contact with a person with coronavirus (COVID-19). Face masks 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 mask 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 mask 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.
  • If you are working on your own property with members of your household, but no staff or contractors are on site.
  • When you are doing any exercise or physical activity where you are out of breath or puffing. Examples include jogging or running, but not walking. You must carry a face mask on you and wear it when you finish exercising.
  • When directed to remove the face mask to ascertain identity.
  • When you are travelling in a vehicle by yourself or with other members of your household.
  • When consuming food, drink or medication, including when seated at a restaurant where permitted.
  • When undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face mask may be worn.
  • During emergencies.

You must carry a face mask with you when leaving home, even if you don’t need to wear it while undertaking your current activity. For example, you can take your face mask off to eat or while you are running, but you must carry it with you and put it back on when you finish.

People with lawful exemptions for not wearing a face mask still need to keep 1.5 metres apart from others, washing or sanitising hands frequently and getting tested if unwell (even with mild symptoms). Find out more about staying safe.

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 www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/reusable-face-masks-covid-19

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.

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