With the imminent loosening of many COVID-19 restrictions including the opening of state borders wearing a face mask is going to become even more important. Face masks will be an essential part of everyone's protection as people are allowed to move around the country more freely.
Most notably as of yesterday, Sunday 11th of October, face masks became mandatory in Victoria. Previously people have been allowed to wear scarves, bandana’s, face shields or face masks. This is no longer the case, proper face masks must be worn at all times if you are outside of your home. The penalty which the Victorian Police are enforcing is a $200 fine. These changes are taking place because well fitting face masks are by far the most effective form of protection (DHHS, 2020).
"As restrictions ease and movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important," - Victorian Health Department
The Northern Territory is also preparing for the reopening of borders. The Government is pushing for all visitors and residents to also keep a face mask on their person at all times in case they find themselves in a place where they are unable to practice social distancing (1.5m apart from others). The Northern Territory Health Minister Natasha Fyles says that the Government is:
“Not trying to “create alarm” but instil a level of readiness in the public before NT accepts visitors from Australia’s most populous city.” - Natasha Fyles (NT Health Minister)
Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Charles Pain explains further:
"As we're going down the downward slope of the epidemic it may seem a bit odd that we're issuing advice about masks, but what we want people to do is have a mask, and if they can't keep their physical distance have your mask and just put it on." - Dr Charles Pain (NT Acting Health Officer)
It seems all states could learn from the important precautions that have been put in place by Victoria and the Northern Territory as we move into the next phase of this epidemic. With more freedom to travel it's highly important that everyone continues to be vigilant through social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing face masks, particularly in high risk areas. These are indoor areas such as public transport, supermarkets, shops, taxis, ride shares, places of worship and entertainment where it is difficult to maintain a 1.5m distance from others.
Below is an outline of each state and their current mask recommendations. If you’d like to find out more you can find the latest government health advice on masks here.
Victoria - Mandatory
Northern Territory - Strongly recommended for high risk areas
New South Wales - Strongly recommended for high risk areas
Queensland - Recommended for high risk areas
Western Australia - Recommended for high risk areas
South Australia - Wear in places of known community transmission
Tasmania - Wear in places of known community transmission
*High Risk Area = areas where you keep a 1.5m distance from others.
We hope that this encourages everyone to stay safe and keep a mask handy at all times. Be sure to check out our collection of masks here. We have adults, adults premium fitted and kids face masks all of which come in a gorgeous array of Indigenous designs.