WA mask rules: Where do I still need to wear a mask? (May 2022)

Posted: 14 May 2022 9:00 am

Here is all the up-to-date information on WA mask rules, and protocol to follow when you take a rapid antigen test (RAT).

Although Western Australia was the last Australian state to maintain its pursuit of a COVID zero policy, the transmissibility of the Omicron variant ultimately made it impossible. The state is recording all-time highs in case numbers, necessitating ongoing government rules regarding masks and RAT kits in WA.

Here's what you need to know about WA's mask rules, and rules around the usage of RATs. If you need to buy these items, head over to our guides on buying face masks and RATs in WA.

Mask rules in WA

You must wear a face mask in Western Australia if you are over the age of 12 in the following settings:

  • Hospitals and health care settings
  • Aged care facilities, residential care facilities including disability service facilities and mental health residential facilities
  • Public and passenger transport, including taxis and rideshare vehicles, tour buses and school buses
  • Correctional facilities

Exceptions include:

  • The person is within or at their home unless another direction requires them to wear a mask at home
  • The person is a child under the age of 12 years
  • The person has a physical, developmental or mental illness, injury, condition or disability which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable
  • The person is communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication
  • The nature of a person's occupation means that wearing a face covering at that time is impractical to perform that occupation or creates a risk to their health and safety
  • The person needs to temporarily remove their face covering so as to enable another person to appropriately perform their occupation
  • The nature of a person's work or the activity that they are engaging in means that clear enunciation or visibility of the mouth is essential
  • The person is at that time consuming food, drink or medicine
  • The person is asked to remove the face covering to ascertain identity
  • Not wearing a face covering is required for emergency purposes (other than emergency preparation or emergency preparation activities, unless another exception specified in this paragraph applies)
  • The person is working in the absence of others in an enclosed indoor space (unless and until another person enters that indoor space)
  • The person is a resident in a residential aged care facility or residential disability facility
  • The person is a patient in a hospital
  • The person is engaged in an activity involving swimming
  • The person is running or jogging or otherwise engaged in some form of strenuous or vigorous exercise or physical activity
  • The person is travelling in a vehicle and either is the sole occupant of that vehicle or is travelling in the vehicle with other persons provided that all the occupants of the vehicle are members of the same household
  • The person is undergoing medical, dental or beauty related care or treatment to the extent that such care or treatment requires that no face covering be worn
  • The person is directed by a judicial officer or tribunal member in proceedings in a court or tribunal to remove their face covering to ensure the proper conduct of those proceedings
  • The person is a prisoner or detainee in a prison, detention centre or other place of custody
  • Not wearing a face covering is otherwise required or authorised by law
  • Wearing a face covering is not safe in all the circumstances

Buy masks in WA

Different types of masks

Of the three main types of protective face masks, surgical masks and cloth masks are no longer favoured by experts. Surgical masks are single-use and are often bought in bulk quantities, while cloth masks can be washed and reused, and can even be made DIY.

Most experts now believe that N95, KN95 and P2 masks are far better options to protect yourself and your community from the extremely transmissible Omicron variant. All 3 mask styles are similar, forming a tight seal and filtering out 94–95% of particles.

RAT rules in WA

In Western Australia, rapid antigen tests are recommended for use if:

  • Attending a large gathering in a crowded place such as a wedding or funeral
  • Visiting a person who is vulnerable to risks of COVID-19
  • Visiting a high-risk setting, e.g. an aged care facility, hospital or disability group home
  • You need to check quickly for COVID-19
  • Recommended by the Department of Health

The WA government continues to recommend the use PCR testing clinics in most cases. If you test positive on a RAT, you must register your result online here. Upon registering your result, WA Health will provide instructions on what to do next.

If you test positive, you must isolate for a complete 7 days. If on the seventh day you still have symptoms, you must continue isolating until your symptoms have gone. If you have no symptoms on the seventh day, you may leave isolation, with no requirement for additional testing.

Buy RATs in WA

All prices are subject to change without prior notice.

How to use a RAT kit

Unsure as to how RAT kits work or need a refresher? NSW Health has produced this helpful, generic video. Keep in mind that instructions will be different from brand to brand.

Check out our guide to oral vs nasal RAT kits and our guide to mask rules throughout Australia.

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