Face masks will become mandatory for people over the age of 12 when out in the ACT community from midnight tonight (27 June) due to the escalating COVID-19 outbreak in NSW.
A mask is mandatory if you are in an indoor area – including public transport – with people you do not usually live or work with.
Areas include supermarkets, hospitality venues, any business where there is close contact with the public and high-risk settings such as health and aged-care facilities.
The mask requirement at hospitality venues brings the ACT into line with restrictions for rural NSW, where employees who have contact with patrons must wear a mask at all times.
Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while in the venue but can remove the face covering while eating and drinking.
People can also remove face masks when speaking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, at work and the nature of work makes wearing a fitted mask a health risk when clear enunciation or visibility of the person’s mouth is essential, and in an emergency.
Scarves, bandannas, and face shields are not adequate substitutes for masks.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new requirement would help limit the possibility of a rapid outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT.
“While the ACT is yet to record a case of COVID-19 as a result of the Sydney outbreak, there are thousands of people here who have indicated that they have recently been in Greater Sydney,” he said.
“There are a number of indoor settings where a face mask will be required. However, if you have any doubt about whether a mask is required or not, put one on.
“Mask wearing remains just one of many measures that all Canberrans can use to reduce their risk of spreading or contracting the virus. Keeping your distance from people and good hand hygiene should be a part of our lives now.”
There will be a 48-hour transition period for businesses and the community to adapt to these new requirements.
For a full list of the business and community settings where masks must be worn, visit the COVID-19 website.
The ACT has also extended its stay at home orders to people who have left Darwin, Palmerston or Litchfield in the Northern Territory after 4:00 pm today (27 June).
These people should not leave their place of residence except for an approved essential purpose.
There have been 24,000 people who have filed in online declaration forms, 10,000 of whom are now subject to stay at home orders.
The stay-at-home requirement will be in place until 1:30 pm on Tuesday 29 June 2021.
Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.