30 Aug, 2021 Last updated: 31 Aug, 2021

Face masks can help Victorians slow the spread of Covid (coronavirus) , so if you’re wondering why, and how you can get one as cheaply as possible, this is for you.

Covid vaccines in Victoria are being rolled out at a number of different venues. Click here to view a list of vaccination centres from the Department of Health

Updates about how many Covid cases are active in Victoria and exposure sites are being provided by the Department of Health.

 

August Update

The Department of Health now recommends that children 12 years and over need to wear masks.

Author: VicHealth works with health promotion experts to create a Victoria where everyone can enjoy better health and wellbeing.  

Any coronavirus information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was originally published (22 July 2020, updated 30 August 2021). For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus restrictions, please visit the source: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

 

For more information about the Department of Health’s latest update on mandatory masks visit their website here.

 

Why should a mask be worn?

The science shows that when used properly, face masks provide an added layer of protection to slow the spread of coronavirus. This is necessary because it’s not always possible to maintain physical distancing. It’s important to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask when appropriate. For more on when and where you need to wear a mask visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

 

Do children need to wear masks?

In Victoria, the current advice from the Department of Health and Human services is that anyone 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask whenever they leave their home, indoors or outdoors, unless lawful exception applies.

The Chief Health Officer has also recommended that primary school-aged children wear masks. 

For more information , please refer to the Department of Health and Human Services advice on wearing masks including when kids need to wear masks at school and outdoors visit https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/face-masks.

To help your family become more comfortable wearing masks, take a look at these helpful tips.

 

What if you can’t buy a mask?

First of all, it’s important to note that a face covering is not limited to single use disposable masks. The Chief Health Officer says it's fine to either buy or make a reusable cloth mask.

Cloth masks are any nose and mouth covering made of washable fabric. The Department of Health recommends a cloth mask made of three layers of a mix of breathable fabrics. Watch their video on how to make a mask below.

 

Top tip: A cloth mask can be washed with detergent and water and re-used. It’s a good idea to have at least two, so you always have a clean one available.

 

How to wear a cloth mask properly

All masks should fit securely around your face, covering your nose and mouth.

If you want to wear single use masks, make sure you position the coloured side of the mask outward. If the mask has a metallic strip, make sure it’s at the top of the mask along the bridge of your nose to ensure your nose and mouth are properly covered.

 

How to wear a single use mask properly

All masks should fit securely around your face, covering your nose and mouth.

 

If you want to wear single use masks, make sure you position the coloured side of the mask outward. If the mask has a metallic strip, make sure it’s at the top of the mask along the bridge of your nose to ensure your nose and mouth are properly covered.

 

 

If the single use mask has:

  • Ear loops: Hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
  • Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.
  • Dual elastic bands: Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck. Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head.

 

Top tip: make sure your mask is properly fitted by putting it on at home, that way you can use a mirror to check it’s fitted properly and reduce any risk of contamination by waiting to put it on outside or in your car.

 

 

 

Don’t touch your mask once it’s on, until you can wash your hands first

Once you have the mask on, don’t touch it again until you’re at home and you can wash your hands.

 

That means once you have the mask on, you should not remove or pull down the mask in public, as it would stop being a protective barrier once touched. So, if you run into a friend on the street or while you're at the checkout of a supermarket, keep the mask in place while having a conversation.

 

  • If the mask gets soiled or damp, it’s time to replace it with a new one.
  • Putting a mask on in your car can be tricky, so remember to put the mask on inside your home. Wash your hands thoroughly before placing the mask on your face and check it covers your nose and mouth properly before you grab your keys and head out the door

 

Wearing a mask may feel a little different, and that’s okay!

 

If you’re feeling a bit uncomfortable, try these tips:

  • Practice at home

Try putting the mask on at home and get used to how it feels to be wearing it before you wear it in public for the first time

 

  • Test your speaking volume

Try speaking to someone in your household to see how loud you need to speak with a mask on. This could be useful to know if you need to communicate in a noisy environment.

 

  • Talk about your feelings with your friends and colleagues

If you’re feeling nervous about wearing a mask in public, you’re not alone. It can be helpful to share your experience by talking to others in your household or online.

 

We all have a role to protect and support our community through the coronavirus pandemic, wearing a mask where appropriate is something we all can do to help protect ourselves and others.

 

It’s important to remember there’s a lot of misinformation about the safety of masks on the internet. For coronavirus information from the health experts visit the Department of Health's website here.

 

Have a coronavirus question?

For all coronavirus questions visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Coronavirus National Helpline on 1800 020 080.