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Face masks

Information about when to wear a face mask in Victoria

Where face masks are required

You are no longer required to wear a face mask in most indoor settings, but wearing a mask remains recommended.

Face masks are mandatory for everyone aged 8 years and above in the following settings:

  • On public transport, in taxis/rideshare services and in tourism vehicles.
  • While inside an aircraft (for ages 12 and over).
  • While visiting a hospital, care facility or any other indoor space that is a publicly accessible area in a healthcare setting, including allied health settings.
  • In a public indoor space if you are a close contact.
  • Working in an indoor space that is a publicly accessible area of a court or justice centre.
  • In an indoor space that is a publicly accessible area of a healthcare facility, including at an allied health facility.
  • Working in a resident-facing role in an indoor space at a care facility, including when not interacting with residents.
  • Working in an indoor space at a prison, police gaol, remand centre, youth residential centre, youth justice centre or post-sentence facility.
  • After being tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results.
  • If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact and are leaving the premises for a permitted reason.

We strongly recommend wearing a mask if you:

  • are in an indoor setting
  • can’t physically distance, such as at entry or exit points to large events
  • have any COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

Benefits of wearing a face mask

Wearing a face mask can help protect you and those around you. Face masks stop droplets spreading when you talk, cough, sneeze and laugh, which lowers your chance of spreading or catching the virus.

Exceptions for not wearing a face mask

A face mask is not mandatory in the following situations:

  • Infants and children under 8 years of age.
  • Persons who have a physical or mental health condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable, including persons with obstructed breathing, a serious skin condition of the face, an intellectual disability, a mental health condition or persons who have experienced trauma.
  • Persons communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom the nature of their work means that wearing a face mask creates a risk to health and safety.
  • Persons for whom the nature of their work means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. For example, broadcasting.
  • The person is working by themselves in an enclosed indoor space such as in an empty classroom unless or until another person enters that space.
  • The person is a professional sportsperson when training or competing.
  • While engaged in any strenuous physical exercise such as running or cycling.
  • When riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
  • When consuming medicine, food, or drink.
  • When smoking or vaping (including e-cigarettes) while stationary.
  • When undergoing specific dental or medical care or treatment to the extent that such care or treatment requires no face mask be worn.
  • When receiving or providing a service and it is not reasonably practicable to receive or provide that service wearing a face covering.
  • The person is a prisoner in a prison, subject to any policies of that prison.
  • The person is detained in a remand centre, youth residential centre or youth justice centre, subject to any policies of that centre.
  • The person is a resident in a post-sentence facility while they are at the facility, subject to any policies of that facility.
  • When escaping harm or the risk of harm, including harm relating to family violence or violence of another person.
  • When asked to remove the face mask to ascertain identity. For instance, when asked by police, security, bank, or post office staff to remove a face mask to ascertain identity.
  • For emergency purposes.
  • When required or authorised by law.
  • Where doing so is not safe.

You do not need a medical certificate stating that you have a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask. If you have a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask, you do not need to apply for an exemption or permit.

If you are stopped by police in a setting where face masks are mandatory, they will ask you to confirm the lawful reason you are not wearing a face mask.

Reviewed 24 June 2022

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days. The COVIDSafe Information hotline diverts to the national hotline every day from 8pm to 8am.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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