FACE MASK UPDATE – WHAT TO CONSIDER, RISKS AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
People who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19 are required to stay in isolation at home and should wear a surgical or cloth face mask when in the same room as another person or when seeking medical advice, to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to anyone else.
If you are in an area where community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring, you may be asked to wear a face mask when you leave your home. Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended outdoors when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people.
In some states and territories, wearing a face mask may become mandatory for periods of time and/or in certain public places. Facemask exemptions do apply in each state and territory for people affected by a medical or mental health condition or disability that makes wearing a mask unsuitable. It is important to stay across the advice for your area by checking your state health government website regularly.
You can find tips to ease into wearing a face-covering here
For information on mandatory face coverings in your state or territory, please visit the relevant page below:
WHAT IF IT IS NOT MANDATED TO WEAR A FACE MASK IN MY STATE OR TERRITORY?
Masks can be an added level of protection when you are in situations where is it more difficult to keep the physical distance. For example, you may choose to wear a mask if people visit your house, you are using public transport or in other enclosed public spaces. An appropriate face mask, used correctly, will reduce the risk of transmission of viruses (even while showing no symptoms of a virus, COVID-19 or otherwise) and may provide you some level of personal protection. Additionally, where there is a low level of disease in the community, fabric masks can be used in situations where it is difficult to achieve physical distancing (e.g. public transport).
A recent article published in the Lancet supported physical distancing of one metre or more to reduce the risk of spread. This study also showed the use of masks reduced the risk by 67%. This was higher with the use of respirators or N95 masks, which should be used by healthcare workers.
Health care workers who are caring for patients with suspected COVID-19 should use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect themselves against COVID-19 provided by their employer.
It is important to remember a face mask does not replace the need for other measures that reduce the spread of COVID-19. You must continue to follow general prevention advice i.e. wash your hands with soap and water for 20-30 seconds frequently, avoid people with symptoms, avoid large gatherings. View prevention techniques here.
Looking after your mask/coverings – learn about the different face masks/coverings