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Everything you need to know about Victoria’s mask rules

 

All Victorians must wear a mask when outside from midnight Sunday. Whether you live in Ararat or Yarrawonga, here is everything you need to know about wearing a mask at school, work, your favourite cafe and while driving.

 

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?

Yes. Everyone outside of their home must wear a mask or face covering.

HOW DO I PUT ON A MASK?

Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on and before removing a mask. While wearing, do not touch your mouth and, once you have removed it, wash or discard.

DO MY CHILDREN HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?

Anyone aged 12 years or older must wear a mask when leaving the house. Masks should also be a “consideration” for children aged between 2-12, but are not recommended for toddlers due to safety concerns.

WHEN WILL MASKS BECOME MANDATORY?

Masks will be mandatory across Victoria from 11.59pm Sunday August 2.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T WEAR ONE?

You face a $200 fine.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXEMPTIONS?

If you have a medical reason or a practical excuse, you may be exempt from wearing a mask. Premier Daniel Andrews said practical reasons included removing your face covering while at the bank or while running — but not walking. However, you must carry a face mask and put it on when you stop running.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK IF I HAVE ASTHMA?

No. People who have a medical condition, including problems with their breathing, do not have to wear face coverings.

DO PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY HAVE TO WEAR A FACE COVERING?

Yes, people with disability must wear a face covering unless it is unsuitable to do so for medical, physical, communication or other individual risk factors.

DO KIDS NEED TO WEAR MASKS TO SCHOOL?

Students at primary school or under the age of 12 do not have to wear a mask. Students aged 12 and over do. Teachers do not have to wear a mask while teaching but must wear them at all other times.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK AT WORK?

Yes, you must wear a mask if you are at work and there are multiple people onsite. This is regardless of whether you are able to be socially distant from your colleagues.

However, 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, may be exempt.

WILL EMPLOYERS BE FINED?

Victoria Police and WorkSafe inspectors will be carry out checks at high-risk workplaces. If an employer is found to be discouraging masks they face a $9913 fine.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK AT THE CAFE OR PUB?

Mr Andrews said that when patrons were seated and eating or drinking in regional Victoria, they would not need to wear a mask. If you are not seated, then you must have your mask on.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK WHILE DRIVING?

If you are driving in a car by yourself or with a member of your household, you do not need to wear a face mask but you should carry one with you for when you exit the vehicle. If you are in a car with other people for work or rideshare purposes then you must wear a mask.

DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT?

Yes.

DO I STILL HAVE TO MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING?

Even when wearing a mask, you should maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from other people.

I DON’T HAVE A MASK. WHAT CAN I DO?

Masks do not have to be medical grade, but they must cover the mouth and nose, and be close fitting. If you don’t have a mask, you can use a scarf, bandana, home made masks or face shields. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that “even imperfectly made” masks made “a significant difference”.

WHERE CAN I BUY A MASK?

You can buy disposable masks at chemists or at Aldi and Bunnings stores. Cloth masks can be purchased online. Alternatively, there are instructions on the DHHS website and in the Herald Sun showing you how to make your own at home.

WHEN DOES THE MASK WEARING PUBLIC ORDER END?

There is currently no end to the order and Premier Daniel Andrews has warned we may be wearing masks for a long time.

HOW DOES A MASK HELP?

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said masks do not completely stop the transmission of COVID-19. However, masks reduce the chance of transmission by up to 80 per cent. The more close-fitting the better protection a face covering offers.

Lawful excuses or exceptions for not wearing a face covering

A face covering is not required in the following circumstances:

A person who is affected by a relevant medical condition - including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition. This also includes persons who are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, 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 External link (opens in same window).

Persons whose professions require clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting.

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 have a face covering on you and wear it when you finish exercising.

When directed by police 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, medication or when smoking/vaping.

When undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face covering may be worn.

When entering or inside a financial institution, like a bank.

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.

 

 

Premier and DHHS make ruling on regional Victorian ‘bonk ban’

The Premier and Department of Health and Human Services have made a ruling on a Victorian ‘bonk ban’ – home visits to intimate partners – amid newly announced restrictions for regional Victoria.

Those living in Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Colac-Otway, Queenscliffe, Golden Plains and Moorabool will be banned from visiting the homes of others or welcoming visitors to their homes from 11.59pm on Thursday.

But, the ‘bonk ban’, as it was nicknamed during Victoria’s first lockdown, will not be enforced as part of new restrictions, the Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed.

“Yes, partners living separately can visit each other at home,” a DHHS spokesperson said on Thursday.

Premier Daniel Andrews also confirmed shared custody visits, intimate partner visits and care giving visits were still allowed in regional Victoria.

“We are not trying to keep intimate partners apart or make shared custody more difficult,” the Premier said.

The State Government in April reversed a decision to keep couples living apart from seeing each other during the statewide ‘Stay at Home’ period.

From Friday, residents in G21 municipalities – Geelong, Surf Coast, Colac-Otway, Golden Plains and Queenscliffe – and Moorabool will be restricted from visiting people or having visitors at homes.

But, residents on those municipalities will still be allowed to visit restaurants and cafes, attend community sport and go to the gym.