As of today, Victoria’s rules on face masks are changing
12.10.2020

As of today, Victoria’s rules on face masks are changing

Image by Kate Trifo
Words by Tom Parker

The two-week grace period for not wearing a fitted face mask is over.

When metropolitan Melbourne moved to the Second Step of the ‘COVID Normal’ roadmap on Monday September 28, Premier Daniel Andrews also announced a change to the policy surrounding face masks.

From September 28, scarves, bandanas and face shields were no longer considered acceptable face coverings in Victoria, and people were required to wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth when outside their homes. But the state government gave Victorians a two-week grace period in the case that they didn’t have a fitted mask available at the time.

That grace period ends today.

As of today, all Victorians must wear a fitted mask when leaving their home, which means the wearing of a scarf, bandana or face shield is now illegal. People are still able to wear a face mask that covers their forehead and sides of their face but it must be worn alongside a fitted mask.

Anyone not wearing a mask when outside the home for a valid reason or with an acceptable exemption is subject to a $200 fine.

For those who are yet to get themselves an approved face mask, you can pick up a box of disposable face masks from all good pharmacies. It is advised that these masks can only be used once before they should be discarded.

If you are keen to get your hands on a reusable mask, check out our piece on the Melbourne not-for-profits and makers selling face masks that give back to the community. Keep in mind that it could take a few weeks for a reusable face mask to be delivered to you – COVID-19 has also caused disruptions to Australia Post.

Alternatively, you can try and make a face mask from home. Approved face masks can be made out of paper of fabric and the DHHS has made their own video guiding those keen to get creative with the process. Watch this below.

Those with a medical condition that affects their breathing or the skin on their face are exempt from wearing a face mask. If police ask you why you are not wearing a face mask, you need to provide this excuse – you do not need a medical certificate.

A person does not need to wear a face mask in the circumstance that a hearing-impaired person needs to see their face to help communicate. Children under the age of 12 do not need to wear a face mask.

For more information on face masks, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

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