Australian face mask rules: The complete list [Updated]

Posted: 12 January 2021 7:00 am

What are the latest rules for every state and on airlines?

Confused by what's required for face masks right now? This round-up summarises the rules around where face masks are required across Australia. We're updating regularly as new rules come into effect.

Australian face mask rules at a glance

Location Rules (as at 12/01/2021)
Victoria Compulsory indoors and on public transport across the state
NSW Compulsory in some indoor settings and on public transport in Greater Sydney
Queensland Compulsory in some indoor settings and on public transport in Greater Brisbane
All other states/territories Not compulsory
Airlines Compulsory on all domestic and international flights
GPs and testing clinics Sometimes compulsory

Even when they're not compulsory, face masks can help prevent the spread of coronavirus, particularly by people who aren't showing any symptoms and haven't been tested, and when it isn't feasible to be 1.5 metres away from others. Check our detailed guide to resusable face masks to find the right one for you, along with tips from doctors on how to use them.

Face mask rules in Victoria

Across Victoria, as of 5pm 31 December 2020 all residents of must wear masks in public indoor spaces, under government regulations. That covers shopping centres, churches, gyms, libraries, cinemas, and all indoor workplaces.

Masks are also compulsory on public transport, in airport terminals and on flights to or from Victoria.

You can remove your mask to eat and drink.

Masks aren't compulsory in your own home. They're not compulsory, but are recommended, when visiting others in their own homes. (No more than 15 people may visit at a time.)

You must carry a mask with you at all times, in case you need to wear one when going indoors or if it becomes impossible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.

There are some exceptions to the Victorian mask rules:

  • The rules don't apply to kids under 12.
  • If you have a medical condition that precludes wearing a mask, you don't have to wear one (but you'll want a letter from your doctor confirming that if you do venture out in public).

Face mask rules in New South Wales

Under NSW regulations, from 3 January 2021 residents of Greater Sydney must wear face masks in many indoor settings. In particular, masks are now compulsory in those areas for anyone working in or visiting:

  • supermarkets;
  • all indoor retail;
  • beauty salons, hairdressers and barbers;
  • places of worship;
  • cinemas and theatres
  • public transport (buses, trains, light rail and ferries), including platforms and bus shelters.

A $200 fine potentially applies if you don't wear a mask when required.

You don't require a mask when eating or drinking, but venues offering those services must register customers using the Services NSW app and adhere to social distancing requirements.

You can remove your mask temporarily if that's needed to provide a service, such as getting a facial or a beard trim.

Face mask rules in Queensland

Face masks must be worn by residents of Greater Brisbane whenever they are indoors, including these locations:

  • shopping centres and supermarkets
  • hospitals and aged care facilities
  • gyms
  • places of worship
  • libraries
  • public transport, taxis and ride share vehicles

In restaurants, cafes or clubs patrons don't need to wear masks, but staff do.

You don't need to wear a mask at work if you can maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.

Face masks aren't compulsory elsewhere in Queensland. Current state guidelines note: "You don't need to wear a face mask unless your doctor has told you to or you are caring for someone who might have COVID-19."

Face mask rules in Western Australia

Face masks aren't currently compulsory or recommended in Western Australia.

Face mask rules in South Australia

Face masks aren't currently compulsory or recommended in South Australia.

Face mask rules in Tasmania

Face masks are not compulsory in Tasmania. State health guidelines recommend "who are suspected or known to have the virus".

Face mask rules in the Australian Capital Territory

Face masks aren't required in the ACT, but territory guidelines suggest this might change depending on how the situation evolves in NSW.

Face mask rules in the Northern Territory

Face masks are not compulsory in the Northern Territory.

Face mask rules on planes

From 8 January 2021, face masks are compulsory on all domestic flights within Australia, and all international flights to and from Australia.

Face mask rules in hospitals, medical centres and testing locations

Most COVID-19 testing centres and many GPs ask for all patients and visitors to be wearing masks, but this isn't universal. Check the specific rules and whether you need to bring your own mask when you book or before making a visit. (See our list of COVID-19 testing clinics in Australia to find one near you.)
We updated this guide on 12 January 2021 with new requirements for Queensland.

Want more help with masks? Check out our overview of face masks, how to choose the best one, what doctors recommend when using them, the rules that apply in Australia and our regularly-updated guide on where to buy masks.

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