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Face masks - importance of face masks

Information about the importance of face masks in Victoria.

Restrictions are in place in Victoria from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 July 2021: 

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors when you leave the house, unless an exception applies. For more information, see face masks. 

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors whenever you leave your home.

Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if you are working alone unless another person enters that indoor or outdoor space.

These actions will protect our loved ones, friends, colleagues, health care workers and the community.

Other ways to stay safe:

  • Always wash your hands before you leave, and when you return home.
  • Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • Never, ever go out if you are unwell unless it is to get tested.
  • After you get tested, you must self-isolate immediately and continue to do so until you receive a negative result.
  • Remember that the most important thing you can do is get tested, even if you have the mildest of symptoms.
  • Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible to do so.

Are face masks still important in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Face masks are one of the most important ways we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The risk of transmission is highest where people are close to each other, and in enclosed spaces.

In situations where you must wear a mask, you must wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth. This means that face shields, bandanas or scarves or loose snoods, or loose neck gaiters on their own are not considered a sufficient face covering. A cloth face mask with three layers or a surgical mask is recommended by the Chief Health Officer, as these provide the best protection for you and others.

Are face masks effective for protecting against coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission?

Face masks have been recommended around the world for use by the community to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself and other people against COVID-19 is by wearing a face mask, and interacting with others either outdoors or in well ventilated places. You should also keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others, wash your hands often, and if coughing or sneezing – do so into your elbow or into a tissue, and then immediately dispose of it.

For the community, both cloth masks and surgical masks are effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

How does wearing a fitted face mask reduce community transmission?

Wearing a fitted face mask protects both you and the people around you by reducing the movement of COVID-19, especially when indoors where ventilation is reduced. Face masks help reduce viral transmission by infectious respiratory droplets and aerosols that could otherwise spread when someone infectious speaks, laughs, sings, shouts, coughs, or sneezes. This includes individuals who have COVID-19 but may not be displaying symptoms (i.e. asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases).

This two-way protection significantly reduces community transmission when more people wear face masks.

Reviewed 27 July 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

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