Woolworths customers asked to wear face masks in NSW, ACT and parts of QLD
As coronavirus hotspots increase, Woolworths is encouraging shoppers to wear face coverings in NSW, ACT and parts of Queensland.
Woolworths has announced that shoppers in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will be "strongly encouraged" to wear face coverings in-store from Monday 3 August and in affected areas of Queensland from tomorrow 1 August.
This new guidance is for:
- Woolworths Supermarkets
- Metro food stores
- BIG W
- Dan Murphy's
- ALH Hotels
The Queensland stores affected are:
- Browns Plains
- Browns Plains Westpoint
- Chatswood Hills
- Park Ridge
This is in addition to the mandatory requirements for face coverings in all of Victoria, currently in place across Melbourne and Mitchell shires, and will roll into effect for the entire state of Victoria on Sunday 2 August.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said in a statement today: "Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private-sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it's important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19. We're asking our teams to lead by example, and this includes our Group Executive Team."
Is it compulsory to wear a mask when shopping at Woolworths, Dan Murphy's or Big W in NSW, ACT and Queensland?
With the exception of Victoria, where wearing a mask is already mandatory in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire and will be across the state from Sunday 2 August, you won't be breaking the law if you don't wear a mask when you visit any Woolworths stores or partners such as Big W, Dan Murphy's or a Metro food store.
However, in New South Wales the current health advice is that wearing a face mask is advised in situations where it isn't possible to socially distance, such as shopping.
Looking to buy a face mask in Sydney? Check our list of retailers with face masks in stock now.
In the ACT, the advice is that you can wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
While in Queensland, the current advice on face coverings is that they are not necessary unless you are caring for someone with COVID-19 or if you have been told to do so by a doctor.
Are face masks required for shopping at Coles?
At the time of publishing, Coles had not released any statements regarding face masks. However, a statement made to the ABC earlier today said the store would continue to follow the health advice of the state governments and encourages all shoppers to socially distance, practice good hand hygiene and use tap and go facilities to make payments when possible.
Woolworths Group CEO Banducci says he is optimistic about the suggestion for shoppers and staff to mask up.
"Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19. By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe."
Is wearing a mask a good idea even if it isn't mandatory in most of Australia?
Sydney GP Dr Brad McKay says that all Australians should buy or make suitable face masks or coverings now, even if they don't live in a state where the laws require it, particularly as the guidance is changing so quickly as the virus continues to spread.
"We haven't needed to wear masks so far because the likelihood of coming in contact with the virus has been so low, but that's about to change. Start getting used to wearing a mask now, before you really need it."
Looking for the rules on face masks in your area of Australia? Check our complete guide here.