FAQ: wearing a mask

There is now a legal requirement for every Victorian to wear a mask in public. This came into effect at midnight on Sunday 2 August 2020. Here are answers to common questions about mask-wearing.

Who? Everyone over the age of 11.

When? At all times when not at home.

Where? Victoria-wide.

What exactly is a mask? A face covering can be a cloth or surgical face mask or face shield. If a face mask is not available other forms of face covering may be used such as a scarf or bandana.

Are there any exceptions? You don’t have to wear a mask if you:

  • have an illness or condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable
  • are doing strenuous exercise* (ie. where you are out of breath or puffing)
  • are eating/drinking
  • are unable to do your job while wearing a face covering
  • are a primary school student and over 11 years old, while you are at school.

*Note, if you are doing strenuous exercise, you need to wear a mask before and after exercising, so carry one with you.

What are the fines associated with not wearing a mask? Fines can be issued if you are not wearing a mask.

  • $200 fines can be issued if you are not wearing a mask without a lawful excuse (those listed above).
  • Youthlaw can assist young people 25 and under who are fined for not wearing a mask. However, our experience to date is that it is difficult to get COVID-related fines withdrawn. Young people/their support people can contact Katrina Fanning, Youthlaw (Ballarat), by calling 0407 854 223, or emailing [email protected]

Where and how can vulnerable people access free masks? The Department of Health and Human Services will be distributing 2.1 million reusable face masks to vulnerable Victorians and Aboriginal Victorians. Vulnerable Victorians include people living in public housing and crisis accommodation, people living with a disability, individuals using family violence services and Aboriginal Victorians. Reusable face masks are now available for service providers to order to distribute to clients. People who are eligible to receive a mask should use a face covering until they receive their reusable mask. The first lot of reusable masks will be distributed within the next week. To help bridge any gaps, providers who apply will be sent single-use masks immediately with reusable masks to follow. While waiting on your delivery, scarfs and bandanas are also acceptable face coverings.

Where can I book a coronavirus test? You can book a coronavirus test at the Ballarat Community Health testing clinic by calling 1800 054 172 or online, here.

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