Metropolitan Melbourne Residents Are Now Encouraged to Wear Masks When Leaving Their Homes
The Victorian Government recommends that face masks are worn in public situations where "physical distancing is not possible" — such as in shopping centres, on public transport and at markets.
Over the past few weeks, Victoria's COVID-19 situation has changed rapidly, resulting in the reintroduction of strict stay-at-home orders for all of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. As part of reimplemented lockdown rules currently in place for at least six weeks, residents of both areas can only leave their homes for one of four reasons: for work or school (if you can't do this from home), for care or care giving, for daily exercise, or for food and other essentials. And, if you do venture out for one of these reasons, it's now recommended that you wear a face mask.
On Friday, July 10, the Victorian Government advised that Victorians living in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire should "wear face masks in situations where they are leaving their home and physical distancing is not possible", as recommended by the state's Chief Health Officer. The announcement came as the state recorded 288 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily rise in to-date — and the largest jump in Australia's history of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic — with Victoria's cases numbers now totalling 3379.
Specifically, metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents should don facial coverings if it is not possible to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people — for example, when visiting crowded areas such as shopping centres, public transport or markets. The recommendation is in place for all adults over the age of 18, with both cloth masks and single-use face masks (aka surgical masks) considered suitable.
The advice regarding masks isn't compulsory, and won't be enforced — so you won't be fined if you don't comply — but the government advises that, based on recent studies, "even when factoring in imperfections and human error, wearing face masks can reduce transmission of coronavirus by around 60 per cent".
If you're now wondering which type of face mask is best, where to get them or how to make your own, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website has put together a guide — including step-by-step instructions for putting together your own three-layer face mask at home. You'll also find information about how to wear a mask correctly, how to take it off, and when to wash and replace it.
For more information about wearing face masks, and the Victorian Government's advice for metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents, head to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.
Published on July 11, 2020 by Sarah Ward