Face masks - importance of face masks

Information about the importance of face masks in Victoria.

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 coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. The risk of transmission is highest where people are close to each other, and in enclosed spaces.

That’s why it is important to wear a face mask in public indoor settings and when you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others.

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 it provides 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 coronavirus (COVID-19).

Your best protection is still to keep at least 1.5 metres apart from other people, to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

For the community, both cloth masks and surgical masks are effective in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (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 coronavirus (COVID-19), especially when indoors where ventilation is reduced.

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

More movement of the virus from person to person means a greater chance of infection.

A fitted face mask can reduce this movement by blocking droplets moving from an infected person and also droplets moving to someone who is not infected.

When do I have to wear a mask?

You can find more information on the face masks page

Reviewed 17 January 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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