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Face masks - work and volunteering

Information about wearing face masks at work and when volunteering in Victoria.

Do I have to wear a face mask while working?

From 11:59pm on 17 January 2021, it is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people in the workplace but it is no longer mandatory, except in certain settings. You must continue to carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless an exemption applies.

You must wear a fitted face mask when you are in an airport terminal or on board a domestic flight to or from Victoria. 

Face masks must be worn by staff in hospitals and care facilities as specified by the COVIDSafe plan of each facility. Visitors to hospitals and care facilities must wear a face mask when indoors. There are a number of  lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

You must continue to wear a face mask when on public transport, in taxis or ride shares, and in large indoor retail settings.  

Do I need to wear a face mask at my place of work or my desk, if I am 1.5 metres away from others? 

From 11.59pm, Sunday 17 January 2021, face masks will no longer be mandatory in all public indoor settings. It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people in the workplace but it is no longer mandatory, except in certain settings. 

This means it is no longer mandatory to wear a face mask at your desk if you are able to maintain 1.5 metres distance from others and do not work in a setting where it is mandatory to wear a face mask. It continues to be mandatory to wear a face mask at work when you work in the following locations: 

  • on public transport
  • in ride share vehicles or taxis
  • inside supermarkets
  • in large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores or hardware stores
  • inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • inside indoor markets
  • on domestic flights to and from Victoria 
  • at airports
  • when working in or visiting hospitals and care facilities

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

As an employer, do I need to require my staff to wear face masks indoors? 

If staff are working in a setting where face masks are mandatory then you are required to ensure your employees wear face masks. It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask even in situations where it is not mandatory, such as when you cannot maintain at least 1.5 metres from others such as transport stops, busy walkways, and thoroughfares.

Some industries, such as care facilities and ports, have additional requirements to wear face masks at work. Check your industry restrictions here.

I work in the beauty industry - can I remove my mask during beauty treatments? 

Customers will be able to remove their mask during a beauty service if required. Masks may be removed if the person is receiving a service, where it is not reasonably practicable to wear a face covering.

People delivering a service in the beauty industry must wear a mask unless it is not reasonably practicable to deliver the service while wearing a mask. Beauty services must keep records of their visitors and customers.

I am a hairdresser or barber - can I remove my mask during appointments?

Customers will be able to remove their mask during their hair appointment if required. Masks may be removed if the person is receiving a service, where it is not reasonably practicable to wear a face covering.

You must wear a mask unless it is not reasonably practicable to deliver the service while wearing a mask. Hairdresser and barber services must keep records of their visitors and customers.

Will I need to wear a mask if I work in a brothel, sex on premises and adult entertainment venue?

It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people in the workplace. However, masks may be removed if the person is receiving or providing a service, where it is not reasonably practicable to wear a face covering. Venues must keep records of their visitors and customers.

How do I know if it is mandatory for people to wear face masks in my business?

Masks are mandatory in the following locations:.

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a ride share or taxi
  • inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • inside indoor markets
  • in large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets
  • on domestic flights to and from Victoria 
  • at airports 
  • when working in or visiting hospitals and care facilities

Workplaces where it is mandatory to wear a face mask, such as a large supermarket or hardware store (over 200 sqm),  are required to have a sign at the entrance to let you know that you must wear a mask. However, exemptions apply for some industries where masks may be removed if the person is receiving or providing a service, where it is not reasonably practicable to wear a face covering. For example, a facial. 

People are not required to wear a face mask or carry one with them if they have a lawful reason, such as a medical condition. People with lawful reasons for not wearing a face mask should not be refused service.

Volunteering

Can I do volunteering work? 

Yes. You can continue to volunteer if the organisation you are volunteering for is still operating. It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people indoors and outdoors, but it is no longer mandatory.  

Practice good hygiene such as regularly washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow. 

Information for current and prospective volunteers about how to support the community and stay safe can be found at Volunteer Victoria. 

I am in a high-risk group – can I volunteer? 

If you are in a high-risk group, you can volunteer, however, consider minimising the number of different people you interact with.   

High-risk groups include people aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50. 

Enforcement  

What happens if I don’t carry a face mask?  

You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. Face masks are mandatory in some public indoor settings including workplaces, and on public transport, when in taxis or ride share. There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

Fines will be given to people who do not wear a face mask in mandatory settings, unless they have a lawful reason to not wear one.  

Will I be fined for not carrying a face mask with me?  

You can be fined if you don’t carry a face mask with you, or wear a fitted face mask in a situation where it is mandatory to; unless you have a lawful reason to not wear one such as a medical condition.  

Reviewed 18 January 2021

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