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Changes to Victorian face mask ruling: Fitted masks now required

Posted: 29 September 2020 8:56 am
News

Man in surgical mask looking at phone

Bandanas and face shields will no longer be considered acceptable face coverings from mid-October.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced several updates to Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions yesterday as the state moves into step two of the government's "roadmap for reopening". Included in the new rulings is a change to the wearing of face masks, with a new requirement stating that fitted face masks are now required.

While face coverings have been mandatory in Victoria since early August, options such as bandanas have also been considered acceptable. This has now been overturned, with the state government claiming that mask alternatives do not offer enough protection on their own as they do not properly cover the nose and mouth.

In a statement, premier Andrews said, "Some of the concessions we made as we adjusted to this new normal — things like wearing a scarf or a bandana or a face shield — will no longer apply."

Instead, fitted face masks that fully cover the nose and mouth will now be mandatory. Accepted mask types include cloth masks, surgical masks and N95 grade masks.

Victorians will be given two weeks leniency to make the switch to a face mask before fines are implemented. Those wearing just a face shield or bandana after the grace period ends will risk copping a fine of $200.

"With more people moving across the city, our public health team have advised the rules around wearing a mask need to be strengthened," the premier said. "As I've said before, wearing a face covering is a small sacrifice – but it makes a huge difference in keeping all of us safe."

The Victorian government's announcement comes after a study on face mask efficacy was published in journal Science Advances on 7 August. The study found that neck gaiters and bandanas were amongst the worst-performing masks when it comes to blocking droplet transmission.

N95 masks, surgical masks and cotton masks meanwhile ranked as the most effective mask types.

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.

Main image: Getty Images

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