Face masks

While mask wearing requirements have eased, the Canberra community is strongly encouraged to continue to wear a face mask when entering public indoor settings, including the Canberra Airport terminal, where it could be difficult to maintain physical distancing.

Masks are also encouraged in the home for household and high-risk contacts and people who have tested positive when they are in shared spaces, wherever possible, to reduce the risk of transmission in their household.

Where must I wear a face mask?

Face masks remain mandatory in the following situations:

  • For household contacts aged 12 years and over in any indoor setting that is not their own home
    • only students who are household contacts in Years 7 to 12 will be required to wear a mask when attending school, consistent with previous advice
    • mask wearing for students who are household contacts in primary school is at the discretion of the student and their parents/carers, and would not be recommended for children in ECECs, or Preschool to Year 2.
  • on public transport, including a public bus, light rail vehicle, taxi, rideshare vehicle, hire car or demand response service vehicle
    • drivers of these vehicles must also wear a face mask when transporting passengers
  • staff and visitors entering a high-risk setting, which includes:
    • hospitals
    • residential aged care facilities
    • correctional centres, detention place or other places of custody
    • residential accommodation facilities that support people who require frequent, close personal care and who are vulnerable to severe disease
  • staff who are providing a service to a person with a disability which is funded or provided:
    • under the National Disability Insurance scheme under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 of the Commonwealth; or
    • by the ACT Government for the primary purpose of providing support to people living with disability, including the Special Needs Transport and Flexible Bus Service operated by the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate.
  • staff who are working for an in-home and community aged care provider including:
    • an approved provider for whom a home care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth), or
    • service provider of a Commonwealth-funded aged care service, as defined in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018, delivering services outside of a residential aged care facility setting
  • on flights into and out of Canberra Airport.

In settings where face masks are mandatory, a person may remove their face mask in the following situations:

  • when 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 (for example, if asked by a police officer)
  • when the nature of a person’s work means that wearing a face mask creates a risk to health and safety
  • if it is necessary for the proper provision of goods or services
  • when undertaking vigorous exercise
  • because of an emergency.
  • when it is required by law
  • if it is not safe in all the circumstances
  • in accordance with hospital policies or procedures
  • when performing 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, and
    • 1.5 metres away from any other person.

If a face mask is removed in any of the circumstances mentioned above, a person must resume wearing the face mask as soon as practical after the circumstance ends.

Businesses and workplaces

Businesses and workplaces should consider whether to implement mask wearing policies within their own workplaces, both for employees and any clients or visitors entering the premises as part of their COVID Safety Plan and to meet work health and safety obligations.

This will be particularly relevant for all businesses and workplaces which employ staff in customer-facing roles to protect vulnerable people who must access these premises and services.

Who does not need to wear a face mask?

There is no requirement to wear a face mask for children under 12.

This remains at the discretion of parents and carers.

A person is also 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 formal written exemption for not wearing a face mask based on the above conditions is not required under the public health direction.

Under the public health direction, an authorised officer is permitted to question why you are not wearing a face mask however, a verbal response is sufficient.

If you would like documentation, you can ask your registered health practitioner or disability care provider to issue a letter confirming your inability to wear a mask.

How to wear your mask properly

How to safely wear and put on your mask

How to safely remove your mask

Tips for people who wear glasses

Fit your mask to your face

If your mask doesn’t fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog up your lenses. When putting on your mask,

  • inch the top of the mask to fit the shape of your nose
  • run your fingers across the top from the midline to the sides of the mask to ensure the shape of the mask fits well
  • adjust the side elastic or ties to tighten the sides of the mask for a good fit
  • the bottom edge of the mask should fit snuggly under your chin.

If you’re a health professional, make sure you are fit tested and are wearing the correct P2/N95 mask. Fit-check your mask before entry into any infectious zone. More information about fit-testing and fit-checking can be found on the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission website.

Wipe your lenses before wearing them

Using an anti-fogging solution and microfiber cleaning cloth, or gently washing your lenses with soap and water (or shaving cream) before wearing them may help. This will keep water droplets from building up and fogging your lenses.

Adjust your glasses

Pushing your glasses forward on your nose will allow more air to circulate and keep your breath from fogging up your vision.

Rest your glasses over your face mask

Try pulling your mask up over your nose and rest your glasses on top of it. This will block the air from escaping and prevent fogging. If you try this, make sure your mask still fits properly over your face. Your nose and mouth should be completely covered, and there should be minimal air leaking from the edge of the mask when you breathe out.

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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: July 01 2022