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Face masks — coronavirus (COVID-19)

How to wear a mask

  1. 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.
  2. Hold the mask by its tapes or loops, then tie the mask around your head or put the loops around your ears.
  3. 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.

Make your own cloth mask

You can make your own cloth mask. Read more: How to make a cloth 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.

Questions about face masks

When do I have to wear a face mask?/ Where do I have to wear a face mask

In a locked down area

You must carry a face mask if you:

  • are in a locked down area, or
  • have been in a locked down area at any time since 1am AEST 29 June, unless 14 days have passed since you were there; or
  • reside in the same household as a person who has been in a locked down area at any time from 1am AEST 31 July 2021 until 14 days have passed since those people were in the locked down area (whichever is shorter).

Outdoors

You must wear a face mask at all times when you are outside your home, including on public transport and when doing non-vigorous exercise unless:

  • you are alone in your car or with the members of your household
  • you are alone in an office with the door closed
  • you are eating or drinking
  • you are participating in strenuous exercise
  • it is unsafe to wear a mask.

Indoors

You must wear a face mask at all times when you indoors, including workplaces, even when social distancing is possible, unless:

  • you are at your residence and there is no one   else there except people you live with
  • you are eating or drinking
  • it is unsafe to wear a mask

If you are an essential worker and you cannot wear a face mask due to a medical condition, you are strongly encouraged to stay at home and not go into your workplace, unless you are fully vaccinated.

Remember, if you can work from home, you must work from home.

Masks in schools and childcare facilities

Schools are and childcare facilities are only open for children of essential workers and vulnerable children.

  • High schools – masks must be worn by   teachers, staff and students
  • Prep to Year 12 schools – masks   must be worn by teachers, staff and students in grade 7 and above (even if   the student is under 12 years of age)
  • Primary schools – masks   must be worn by teachers and staff

Exceptions

There are some other exceptions to wearing face masks, including for children under 12 (unless they are at school in Grade 7) and people with particular medical conditions or disabilities.

If in doubt, wear a face mask. You must wear a face mask when leaving your home, if you cannot wear a face mask please do not leave your residence.

Rest of Queensland (outside of South East Queensland locked down areas)

You are only required to wear a mask in some locations such as airports on domestic flights and in stadiums. You do not need to wear a mask if you:

  • have not been in a locked down area at any time since 1am AEST 29 June; or
  • do not reside in the same household as a person who has been in a locked down area at any time from 1am AEST 31 July 2021

We recommend everyone else in Queensland should keep a mask with them so that if you are in a situation where you may not be able to maintain physical distancing, you have some added protection.

Who doesn’t have to wear a face mask?

#exceptions

If you are in a locked down area, face masks do not have to be worn by:

  • infants and children under the age of 12 unless they are at High School or a prep to year 12 school in grade 7)
  • anyone in their homes or in temporary accommodation such as holiday accommodation
  • anyone working alone in an indoor space such as in a closed office
  • anyone travelling alone in their car or only with members of their household
  • anyone engaged in strenuous physical exercise
  • anyone eating, drinking or taking medicine
  • people engaging in work that requires clear communication or visibility of your mouth, for example live broadcasting
  • anyone who has a medical condition or disability that may be made worse by wearing a mask, including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on their face, a mental health condition or experienced trauma
  • anyone who is communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • anyone who has past experiences of trauma and is unable to wear a face mask due to psychological impacts
  • anyone whose health and safety would be at risk if they wore a face mask while conducting their work, as determined through Occupational Health and Safety guidelines
  • prisoners of corrective facilities or detainees in detention centres, subject to any policies or requirements of a facility
  • residents of residential aged care facilities or shared disability accommodation services
  • anyone who is being married while in the process of being married
  • people during an emergency.

Rest of Queensland (outside of South East Queensland locked down areas)

There are also some exceptions to wearing a face mask in airports in Queensland, on domestic flights and in vehicles transporting people to and from quarantine hotels.

These exceptions include:

  • children under 12
  • a person eating, drinking or taking medicine
  • where visibility of the mouth is essential – for example, a person communicating to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, a teacher or live broadcasting
  • a person with a particular medical condition or disability that may be made worse by wearing a mask – for example, a person who has breathing difficulties, a serious skin condition on their face, a mental health condition or psychological impacts from experienced trauma
  • a person undergoing medical treatment – for example, a person receiving first aid
  • if a person is asked to remove a face mask for identity
  • if wearing a mask creates a risk to a person’s health and safety
  • in an emergency or when required by law – for example, if a customs officer requires a person to remove their mask for a cavity search
  • in any circumstances where it is not safe to wear a face mask
  • if you are an air crew member or an airport worker who is not interacting directly with passengers.

If you remove your face mask for any reason, you must put it back on as soon as practicable.

Do I have to provide a medical certificate to prove I can't wear a mask due to my medical condition?

You do not need a medical certificate to prove you have a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask.

If a service provider, school or employer requires you to wear a mask when an exception applies, this may amount to unlawful discrimination.

Find out more information about COVID-19 and human rights.

Do I have to wear a mask if I’m in my workplace and have been to a lockdown area?

A person working alone in an indoor space is not required to wear a face mask. For example a person working alone in an office with the door closed.

All other essential workers attending a workplace should wear a face mask at all times unless an exception applies.

If you are an essential worker attending the workplace during the lockdown and are unable to wear a face mask due to a medical condition you are strongly advised to stay home unless you are fully vaccinated. For example, a supermarket employee working at a check out or in a distribution centre should not attend work if they are unable to wear a face mask unless they are vaccinated.

Questions about face masks at airports and on flights

Do I have to wear a mask if I’m driving a vehicle with no passengers?

No. You do not need to wear a mask if you are driving a vehicle without passengers.

Do I have to wear a face mask if I am not interacting directly with passengers?

Air crew and airport workers who do not interact directly with passengers do not need to wear a mask. If you are in the airport where passengers are present, you must wear a face mask. If you are at an airport in a locked down area, you must wear a mask at all times unless an exception applies

What type of mask can I wear in an airport or on a plane? Will it be provided to me?

You must obtain your own face mask. 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 cloth mask with at least 3 layers is permitted.

Find out how to use, wear and dispose of a face mask.

How can I wear a face mask if I have a hearing aid or wear garments that cover my head or face?

If you wear a hearing aid we recommend considering wearing a mask that ties around your head, rather than over the ears to ensure the ties do not get tangled in your hearing aid.

There are a range of face masks available that can be worn with traditional and religious garments. These include face masks that are tied around the head, rather than looped over the ears. If you wear a face covering, like a veil or scarf, you should wear your face mask beneath this covering your nose and mouth.

Find out how to use, wear and dispose of a face mask.

How do I stop my face mask fogging up my glasses?

Try one of these tips to help prevent your face mask fogging your glasses:

  • make sure your face mask is fitted and pinched on your nose if possible
  • put your glasses on after your mask
  • wash your glasses with detergent and water to create a film to prevent fogging
  • use micropore tape (available at pharmacies) to tape the mask along the bridge of your nose and cheeks, then put your glasses on top
  • put a folded tissue across the bridge of your nose, then put your mask on with your glasses on top.

Find out how to use, wear and dispose of a face mask.

How do I wear a mask correctly if I have a big beard?

Ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth, regardless of any facial hair. For non-medical face masks, you do not have to achieve a seal with the mask against the skin of your face.

There are different shapes and sizes of fabric non-medical masks available, some of which may be a more comfortable option if you have facial hair.

Who are air crew and airport workers?

Air crew means a person on a commercial domestic flight landing or taking off in Queensland who is:
  • a pilot or crew member providing essential safety or maintenance functions or cabin crew member actively servicing a commercial domestic flight
  • an off-shift pilot or crew member providing essential safety or maintenance functions or cabin crew member travelling to reposition to commence duty in Queensland or another State or Territory
  • an aeromedical services crew member providing patient transport or emergency medical care to a patient
  • an off-shift aeromedical services crew member who is travelling as a passenger on an aircraft to reposition to commence duty in Queensland or another State of Territory.
Airport worker means someone required to perform work in a Queensland airport, including:
  • an engineer or other technical staff
  • a cleaner
  • a baggage handler
  • a person involved in the delivery or removal of food, goods or other things in connection with an aircraft
  • an employee of an airline other than air crew
  • a person providing law enforcement or border security services.

Can I remove my face mask to smoke or use an e-cigarette?

Yes, subject to existing restrictions on smoking in public places in Queensland.

While there isn’t enough evidence to be certain that people who smoke are more likely to be infected by COVID-19, the act of smoking means that fingers are in contact with your lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth.

Find out more about smoking and COVID-19.

How will wearing face masks be enforced?

Airlines can stop someone from boarding a domestic flight or flying with the airline (for a period of time determined by the airline) if they refuse to wear a face mask.

Although airlines are not responsible for enforcing compliance with the Mandatory Face Masks Direction, they can report non-compliance to the Queensland Police Service or Australian Federal Police through their current processes.

Queensland Police Service and Australian Federal Police officers may take action if a person refuses to wear a face mask without a lawful reason. A person may be given a move-on direction to not board a flight or to leave the airport for up to a 24 hour period. If someone refuses a police direction to wear a mask, police officers can issue an on-the-spot fine of $206, an infringement notice, or a notice to appear in court.