Face masks — coronavirus (COVID-19)
Face masks can be a useful measure to help control sustained community transmission. At this time, we do not have sustained community transmission in Queensland.
Face masks alone will not protect you from COVID-19. Social distancing is the gold standard of COVID-19 prevention methods, coupled with washing your hands regularly.
We understand there are situations where you may not be able to maintain social distancing. Keep a mask with you, so that if you get into one of those situations, you have some added protection. When attending a big event or travelling on public transport we strongly recommend you wear a mask especially when entering, exiting or moving through areas where lots of people are gathered.
How to wear a mask
- Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub (made up of over 60% alcohol or 70% isopropanol) before you put on your mask.
- Hold the mask by its tapes or loops, then tie the mask around your head or put the loops around your ears.
- Make sure the mask completely covers your mouth and nose, and that there are no gaps between your face and the mask. If you are using a surgical mask, press the nose piece around your nose.
If you are using a mask with ear loops, you can use a plastic clip or tie to join the ends together at the back of your head to make sure it fits securely on your face.
Make sure that your mask does not have holes or a valve, as if you have COVID-19, you can breathe out the virus.
Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth or the front of the mask while wearing it.
If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.
Dispose of a single-use mask correctly
When disposing of a mask, put it in a sealable bag to ensure the used mask won’t be touched by others. Then put the sealed bag in the bin.
Always clean your hands immediately after removing your mask and putting it in the bin.
Recommended types of face masks or other face coverings
The best face mask is a single-use surgical mask – you can purchase these at pharmacies. If you are unable to get a surgical mask, any paper or cloth masks are fine to use. The most effective cloth masks are made up of at least 3 layers. As a last resort, a bandana or scarf may assist, as long as you are able to cover your nose and mouth properly.
Make your own cloth mask
You can make your own cloth mask. Use the Australian Government’s helpful resource if you want to know the best way to make a face mask.
Washing a reusable cloth face mask
Cloth masks should be washed after every use.
They can be washed in the washing machine with other clothes, or handwashed using soap and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth. Dry the cloth mask in the clothes dryer or in fresh air before you re-use it.
Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub (made up of over 60% alcohol or 70% isopropanol) after handling used face masks.
How often to change your face mask
You cannot re-use surgical masks.
You can wash and re-use cloth masks. It is a good idea to have at least two, so you will always have a clean one available.
On a single trip away from home there might be times when you can’t stay 1.5 metres away from other people and wear a mask, and times when you can maintain the distance and don’t need to wear a mask. For instance, you might take crowded public transport to and from work, but at work be able to maintain appropriate distancing.
Don’t re-use the same mask to go home that you used on the trip to work. Throw used surgical masks in the bin or store used cloth masks in a plastic bag until you can wash them.
Re-using a cloth mask without washing it is risky, because it can become contaminated or may not be as effective in protecting you. For each new situation put on a clean mask. Carry your clean masks in a plastic or paper bag to keep them clean.