COVID-19: When and how to use face masks

Important advice for the Victorian public

A face covering is now mandatory whenever you leave home – wherever you live in Victoria.

Click here for important information from the Department of Health about face coverings and masks.

Click here and watch this video message from the Chief Health Officer about how to safely wear a face covering.

Click here for information from the Australian Department of Health.

Face coverings are now mandatory if you live in Victoria.  This is  because of the higher number of COVID-19 cases currently occurring due to community transmission.

If you are aged 12 years or older, it is mandatory that you wear a face covering when leaving home, unless an exemption applies.  A face covering needs to cover both your nose and mouth.  It could be a face mask or shield. 

When it comes to those aged 3 to 11 years old, families should make their own decisions about whether their children should wear a face covering.  Children who are aged 2 years or younger must not wear face coverings as they are a choking and suffocation risk.

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, Stage 4 Stay at Home restrictions now apply.  If you have to leave home, wearing a face covering can provide an additional physical barrier to COVID-19.  This will help reduce community transmission. 

Face coverings are not a substitute for maintaining 1.5M of physical distance between yourself and other people.

There are two types of face coverings suitable for community use:

Free reusable cloth face masks for vulnerable Victorians as defined by the Department of Health will be available soon.  Click here to find out if you are eligible.

Key points:

  • COVID-19 is spread from close contact with an infected person.
  • Wearing a face covering provides an additional physical barrier to COVID-19.
  • Social distancing and regular hand washing are still the best defence against COVID-19.
  • Cloth masks or single-use (surgical) masks can be used as face coverings in the community.
  • Those aged 12 years and older must wear a face covering when leaving home throughout Victoria.
  • Due to risk of choking and suffocation children under the age of 2 years must never wear a face covering.
  • Face coverings are not required in the following circumstances:
    • lawful excuses.
    • children under the age of 12 years.
    • those who have a professional reason for not wearing a mask.
    • persons who are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired.
    • doing strenuous exercise (but you must have a face mask or covering with you).
    • those who are affected by a relevant medical, physical or mental health condition*.

* Discuss these exemptions with your GP.

Remember, if you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should STAY HOME and call your doctor to find out how to get tested.

For digital resources about COVID-19 and the use of face masks refer to:

Click here for the latest clinic news about COVID-19 on our website.

For 24/7 telephone support about COVID-19 call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.