Face mask requirements

Wearing face masks became mandatory in the ACT from 5:00pm Thursday 12 August 2021.

All individuals aged 12 years and over must wear a mask at all times when leaving home, including in workplaces.

Only children in years 7 to 12 are required to wear a face mask while at school.

A person is not required to wear a face mask if they have a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face mask detrimental to their condition.

A person may remove their face mask in the following situations:

  • When the person is consuming food, drink or medicine.
  • When communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication.
  • If asked to remove a face mask to ascertain identity (eg if asked by a police officer).
  • While undertaking vigorous exercise outdoors.
  • When performing essential work in an outdoor space where no other people are present.
  • When alone or only with members of the same household in an outdoor space when no other people are present.
  • When performing essential work in an indoor space, but only when:
    • In an office where no other people are present; OR
    • When sitting or standing at a workstation, in an office, and 1.5 metres away from any other person.  (As soon as a person is no longer alone or is moving, they must wear a face mask).
  • If they are in the process of getting married.
  • If alone in a vehicle or with members of the same household only.
  • Because of an emergency.

Note: A face covering means a mask or other covering that fits securely around the face and covers the nose and mouth to provide the wearer with protection against infection. A scarf or bandana is not a face mask.

What classifies as a face mask?

Face masks must be designed or made to be worn over the mouth and nose and should fit securely around your face to provide the wearer with protection against infection.

Use either single-use masks or reusable cloth masks. Scarves, bandannas, and face shields are not adequate substitutes for masks.

Single-use masks should be made with a non-woven, melt-blown polypropylene layer. They should not contain holes or valves. Always source single-use masks from reputable outlets such as chemists and supermarkets and only use each mask once and then dispose of it. When you next need a mask, put on a new, clean single-use mask.

Reusable cloth masks should have at least three layers of fabric to ensure adequate protection. Wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean, dry place.

The NSW Government provides useful information about what kind of masks are suitable, where to get them and how to wear them.

How do I properly wear a face mask?

See Resources for mandatory masks below on how to put on, wear and dispose of a face mask.

Here are some handy tips for wearing a mask:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on or taking off your mask
  • Ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face
  • Refrain from touching the front of your mask while wearing or removing it
  • Do not allow the mask to hang around your neck or under your nose
  • Do not reuse single-use masks, for each situation put on a new, clean mask
  • Carry clean masks in a paper or zip-lock bag
  • Wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean, dry place
  • You may use a single-use mask continuously for up to 4 hours, as long as it does not become moist, soiled or damaged. Do not store and reuse single-use masks
  • If your single-use or cloth mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

Masks are just one line of defence against COVID-19 and are not a substitute for other precautions. Continue physical distancinghand and respiratory hygiene, staying at home if you are unwell, and getting tested if you have symptoms.

Resources for mandatory masks

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: September 07 2021