Face Masks Encouraged in NSW

Community transmission of COVID-19 is a cause for concern in NSW.

The NSW Government now recommends wearing face masks in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible. This includes supermarkets, public transport and places of worship.

People working in customer-facing roles such as hospitality or retail are also encouraged to wear a mask.

Wear a mask:

  • When physical distancing can’t be guaranteed.
  • If you have symptoms and are seeking medical advice.
  • If you are in isolation in the same room as another person.

Wearing a mask is not mandatory in NSW, but is highly recommended, especially in areas where there has been community transmission.

Please remember that a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Masks are a ‘fourth line of defence’ after:

  1. Getting tested if unwell, then staying home.
  2. Maintaining 1.5-metre physical distancing.
  3. Practising good hand hygiene.

If you have symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 immediately, then self-isolate. Symptoms include fever, cough, headache, runny nose and shortness of breath.

Testing clinics are available across the North Coast, from Tweed Heads to Wauchope.

What type of mask should you be wearing?

Single-use masks (surgical masks) and reusable cloth masks can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Surgical masks – the blue or green masks you typically see on doctors – are single use and cannot be washed.

Do not buy masks that have holes or a valve.

You can buy single-use masks from reputable retail outlets, including chemists and hardware stores.

Cloth masks should be:

  • Ideally made from three layers of breathable fabric to ensure adequate protection.
  • Washed after each use, or at least daily.

For instructions on making a cloth face mask, click here. This link also includes advice on wearing and washing masks.

How to wear a mask correctly

Via NSW Health

Your mask should cover both your nose and mouth.

Your mask should fit securely around your face (ie. snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face).

  1. Before putting on your mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Or use hand sanitiser that is made from over 60% alcohol.

  2. Ensure you are using a new surgical mask or clean cloth mask. Do not reuse surgical masks. Always use a clean and dry mask.

  3. Check the mask for defects, such as tears or broken loops.

  4. If you are wearing a surgical mask, position the coloured side of the mask outward.

  5. If the 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.

    • A metallic strip or wire: Mould the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.

  6. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin. Be sure your mask fits snugly.

For each new situation put on a clean mask. For example, you might wear a mask on public transport until you get to work. You shouldn’t reuse the same mask during your journey home. Carry clean masks in a paper or zip-lock bag with you.

Don’t touch the mask while you are wearing it. If you do touch it, wash or sanitise your hands.

If your mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

When removing your mask, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times.

Remove your mask outside and away from other people, if possible. 

Carefully remove your mask by grasping the ear loops or untying the ties. For masks with a pair of ties, unfasten the bottom one first, then the top one.

Dispose of single-use masks responsibly in the rubbish bin. For safety, put it into a sealed bag before putting it in the bin to ensure others won’t touch it.

Wash and dry reusable cloth masks after each use.

Store in a plastic or zip-lock bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Wash cloth masks in the washing machine with other clothes or by hand using soap.

Lay out flat to dry (in the sun if possible) or put in the dryer.

Store in a clean, dry place.

After removing your mask, always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.