Melbourne and the mask: Can you ask employees to wear a mask?

When do you need to wear a mask? Can you ask your employees to wear one at work? 

From July 22 at 11.59pm, residents of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will need to wear a mask when in public spaces, such as in grocery stores, on public transport and going for a walk. 

Those who are found not wearing a mask with a reasonable excuse will be fined $200. Businesses that disregard the new rule may also be charged more than $9000.

When do you need to wear a mask?

In simple terms, if you live in those areas, you need to wear a mask when you leave the home, or you could face a fine of $200. 

Premier Daniel Andrews says people are permitted to leave their home for four of legal reasons, which include:

  • Leaving the home to purchase essential items, such as groceries;
  • Leaving the home to exercise;
  • Leaving the home to go to the doctor or provide compassionate care; and
  • Leaving the home to work or study if it is impossible to do so from home.

There is no timeframe as to when this mandatory measure to cover your mouth and nose in public places will end, however, in Andrew’s latest statement he says it could be for “a very long time.”

There are, however, limited instances in which you will not need to wear a mask when you are in public places such as: 

  • You have a medical condition that makes it infeasible to wear a mask;
  • You are performing an occupation that makes it impossible to wear a mask;
  • You are running (however, you will need to wear a mask before and/or after your run);
  • You are driving your car alone or with members of your household (however, you will need a mask if you are getting out of the car) or;
  • You are under the age of 12.

Can you ask your employees to wear a mask at work?

Yes, you can ask your employees to wear a mask at work in Melbourne. 

Since mid-May, 80% of coronavirus cases have been traced back to transmissions in the workplace. Employers that disregard the new mandatory wearing of masks may face fines of $9913. Victoria Police and WorkSafe inspectors will be carrying out checks in high-risk workplaces. 


Watch: Recommendations for using a Cloth Face mask with Brett Sutton, Victorian chief health officer

In other Australian states, it is not mandatory to wear face coverings. However, in light of the current situation in Melbourne, business owners are asked to “closely monitor the information being provided by your state or territory and ensure that any recommendations or directions about wearing face masks are followed in your workplace”.

Can you ask your customers to wear a mask?

In Melbourne, customers should be wearing a mask if they are attending your business. You may display signs that tell them that they are required to wear one upon entry. 

In other states, you may also enforce the wearing of face coverings or sanitisation on entry of your property. 

NOW READ: Ten small businesses selling reusable face masks in Australia 

NOW READ: Face masks mandated in Melbourne workplaces: What you need to know


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