Victorians Will No Longer Be Required to Wear Face Masks Outside From Midnight Tonight
As long as you can maintain social distancing — but they're still mandatory indoors.
Over the past four months, Melburnians have become accustomed to wearing face masks, with donning the coverings made compulsory back in mid-July. From 11.59pm tonight, Sunday, November 22, that'll change — but only outdoors, and if you can maintain social distancing.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement about masks as part of his latest press conference, where he unveiled a whole heap of other changes — largely also coming into effect tonight and revolving around easing venue and gathering caps, while also earmarking future changes to come. Regarding masks, he noted that they have "played a very important part in delivering these low numbers, and containing the spread of the virus", but that it's now appropriate for the rules to ease.
First and foremost, Victorians will be required to keep wearing masks indoors and on public transport. You'll also need them in a few specific situations that have been outlined in the latest changes — when waiting at stations to catch public transport, when using ride shares, at hospitals and care facilities, and while shopping. And, you'll have to wear them anywhere you're unable to maintain social distancing. You'll also always need to be carrying one with you.
Otherwise, if you're outdoors and you can keep a safe distance, masks will no longer be compulsory. Premier Andrews gave a couple of examples, saying that "you'll still need to keep your mask on if you're at a busy outdoor market — or in line for a snag at your local Bunnings". But, "if you're headed for a quiet stroll around the neighbourhood, you won't need to wear a mask — but you will need to carry one, in case the situation changes".
The change to mask rules reflects Victoria's 23 consecutive days without any new COVID-19 cases, and comes after Premier Andrews had previously noted that the state's residents would likely be donning them for at least the rest of 2020. "Masks need to be with us across the whole state for some time to come," he advised back at the end of October.
As has been the case since late September, the only face coverings that are currently acceptable — even with the rules easing outdoors — are fitted face masks that cover the nose and mouth. Although bandanas, scarves and face shields were previously allowed, that's no longer the case.
If you're still wondering where to grab a fitted mask, we've put together a rundown of local companies making and selling them.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 and the current restrictions, head over to the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Published on November 22, 2020 by Sarah Ward