Face masks to become mandatory across Melbourne as cases rise

Jul 19, 2020
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new changes in a press conference on Sunday. Source: Getty.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that people living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will now be required to wear face masks in public from Wednesday as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Anyone who fails to wear a face mask could be fined $200. The new rule will come into effect on Wednesday at 11:59 pm.

Victoria recorded 363 new coronavirus cases since yesterday. There have also been three further deaths in Victoria due to Covid-19 bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 38 since yesterday. The deaths include two men in their 90sand a woman in her 90s while 130 people are currently in hospital and 28 are in intensive care.

“I understand this is a big shift and that not being able to see each other’s faces might be confronting,” Andrews said in a press conference on Sunday. “But this virus is incredibly infectious – and this is about keeping people safe.”

“By covering our faces, we’re protecting ourselves, our families and every single Victorian. So please – just as you remember your house keys, please remember something to cover your face.”

Andrews said face masks “do not need to be hospital-grade” suggesting that they can be homemade, a scarf or some kind of cloth face covering.

“A scarf will do,” he said. “Because any face covering is better than no face covering.”

Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said masks would be mandatory for everyone over the age of 12.

“Below the age of 12, it’s a consideration,” he said. “We say not for toddlers – so not two years and below – but it’s a consideration for all other children

“The best way you can help keep community transmission low is by sticking to the coronavirus restrictions, keeping your distance and wearing a face covering whenever you leave home,” he said.

“By covering my face, I’m helping to keep you safe – and by covering your face, you’re helping to keep every Victorian safe.

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