Victorians Will Only Need to Wear Face Masks in Certain Situations From Midnight Tonight
It's still mandatory to carry one with you — but you'll only need to pop one on in specific circumstances, such as public transport and indoor shopping.
Across the second half of 2020, Melburnians have become accustomed to wearing face masks, with donning the coverings made compulsory back in mid-July. Now that Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions are continuing to ease — and with the state now hitting 37 days without any new cases, too — rules around covering your face have been slowly changing as well. In big news, they'll no longer mandatory in all indoor circumstances from 11.59pm on Sunday, December 6, with the Victorian Government loosening the requirements significantly.
Back on Sunday, November 22, the mask rules loosened in outdoor situations — so you no longer needed to wear one outdoors if you can maintain social distancing. Now, when tomorrow hits, you will only have to don a mask at all in certain scenarios. You will always have to carry one with you, though — that's still mandatory.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement about masks as part of his latest press conference, where he unveiled a whole heap of other changes — but changes to face mask requirements was one of the big ones. You'll now just have to wear them in specified crowded spots, with wearing them otherwise moving to "recommended, but not mandatory".
First and foremost, Victorians will still be required to keep wearing masks indoors at shopping centres, and in retail stores inside shopping centres — including department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores and supermarkets. You'll also need to keep wearing them at indoor markets. So, basically, if you're shopping indoors at a large and busy establishment, you'll need to mask up.
Masks are also still mandatory on public transport, and when using ride shares or other commercial passenger vehicles. That's hardly a surprise, given that social distancing is difficult in these situations.
On that topic, you'll have to wear a mask when you're in a large crowd of people you do not know or where QR codes for contact tracing haven't been used. And, if you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, are suspected of having it, or you're a close contact of someone with it, you must wear a face covering if you're leaving the house, even if you're going to the doctor.
In general for everyone else, though, the new guidelines state that "face coverings are recommended, but not mandatory, when leaving home and physical distancing cannot be maintained". Premier Andrews noted that "while masks are no longer mandated in most circumstances, the evidence is clear wearing a face covering makes a real difference in slowing the spread of the virus — so masks continue to be recommended indoors or outdoors when distancing can't be maintained".
If you're still wondering where to grab a 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 December 06, 2020 by Sarah Ward