Changes to rules on face masks come in to force in Victoria today. Here’s what you need to know


Victorians have been wearing face masks for a while now, but the rules have changed as of today to make the public as safe as possible.Originally people were asked to use a face mask, scarf, bandana or face shield — but not anymore.Two weeks ago the Government said only fitted face masks would be allowed. Now, after a grace period, that rule will be enforced by Victoria Police.What’s changing?As of today, all Victorians must wear a fitted mask when leaving the house. This applies to all Victorians no matter where they live.Bandanas, scarves and face shields alone are no longer acceptable. Gaiters, which are loose tubes of fabric that can be pulled up over the face, are not allowed either, because they are not fitted.You can still wear a shield that covers your forehead and the sides of your face but it must be worn with a mask. The penalty for not wearing a mask is $200. Bandanas are no longer allowed.(ABC News: Daniel Fermer)Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from October 11 with our coronavirus blog.What kind of masks are required and how should they fit?To provide the best protection, health officials say, a mask must cover your nose and mouth.It should be “well fitted”. That means it needs to fit snugly over your nose and mouth.A mask with three layers provides the best protection, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.”As restrictions ease and movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important,” the health department says. Surgical masks should only be used once and should be disposed of “responsibly”, the health department says.(ABC News: Daryl Torpy)A face mask can be made of paper or fabric.It can be homemade and there are many patterns for these available on the internet.A surgical or medical-grade mask can be used once only and should be disposed of in a “responsible manner”.Loading…What are the exceptions to the rules? Victoria’s road to recoveryYou do not have to wear a mask if you have a “lawful excuse” and you do not need to get a medical certificate.If police question why you are not wearing a mask, you need to provide that excuse. People with a medical condition that affects their breathing or the skin on their face do not have to wear a mask.A person does not need to wear a mask when a hearing-impaired person needs to see their mouth to help communicate. There are other exceptions for occupational health and safety. Children under 12 and babies are not required to wear masks. New rules which will be enforced from today require everyone to wear a fitted mask.(ABC News: Daniel Fermer)Nor are residents in aged care settings. But visitors and people who work in aged care must wear masks.People taking part in professional sport or training are also exempt, as are journalists. You don’t have to wear a mask in a car with a member of your household but you do have to wear it when you get out of the car.You can slip your mask down while eating food but it has to go back on when you’re finished.If you’re doing exercise or physical activity such as jogging, running or cycling, you must carry a face mask and wear it when you finish. Face shields like the one on the right must now be worn with a mask underneath or not at all.(ABC News: Chris Le Page, file photo)When do you have to wear masks?You have to wear a fitted face mask any time you leave home unless an exception applies.You don’t have to wear masks in your own home or while driving with someone from your household.A mask must be worn when you are with someone outside your household.Read more about coronavirus:Who do the rules apply to?The rules apply to all Victorians except babies and kids under 12 years of age and aged care residents in their own home.Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreakWhat about in an emergency?You may leave home without a mask if you’re seeking help in an emergency or when a person is at risk of harm from family violence.What you need to know about coronavirus:

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