We don't know who needs to hear this, but VIC's new mask restrictions are enforced from today. Find out what you need to know below to keep everyone safe (and avoid a particularly punishing fine).
What new face mask rules?
It's been a minute, but a couple of weeks ago, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews confirmed Metropolitan Melbourne would be entering stage two of the coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap for reopening, which included the requirement to wear fitted face masks. He allowed a two week 'grace period' for Melbourne residents to adjust to the new rule. So from today, everyone must wear a "fitted face mask" that covers both your nose and mouth.
"This means that face shields, bandanas, or scarves or loose snoods, loose buffs or loose neck gaiters on their own will no longer be considered a sufficient face covering", says the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
What's A 'Fitted Face Mask', Anyway?
It's basically a properly-designed face mask that fits tightly and covers your nose and mouth. You know the kind, the 'I'm-taking-this-pandemic-seriously-not-just-covering-my-face-in-a-chiffon-scarf-to-avoid-a-fine' look.
The Chief Health Officer recommends a face mask with three layers that fits snugly around the face, "specifically covering the nose and the mouth" (these are the mucosal areas where COVID-19 transmission happens). Lovely!
What About A Face Shield?
Nope, you can no longer wear a face shield on its own. VIC Premier Dan Andrews stressed a couple of weeks ago a shield on its own doesn't properly cover people's nose and mouth. "You can wear one if you want, in terms of your eyes, but it would need to be accompanied by a mask," Andrews said.
If Restrictions Are Easing, Why Are Face Mask Rules Tightening Up?
As restrictions ease and we begin to make contact with more people, a face mask that that works is our best protection against COVID-19. "As restrictions ease and movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important", the DHHS says.
Can I Still Wear My Artisanal Etsy Face Mask?
You can! Your face mask doesn't need to be medical grade, but make sure you buy one that fits your face well and properly covers your mouth and nose. Again, a three-layer face mask has been recommended by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton as your best protection for you and others.
Or why not treat yourself to a crafternoon and make your own?
What's The Fine For Not Wearing One?
How Do I Make Sure My Disposable Face Mask Doesn't End Up Hurting A Lovely Bird?
We're so glad you asked.
Where Can I Get More Details?
The official word on VIC's new face masks requirements are laid out here, including info about exemptions to the rule and how to wash your mask.
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