NSW residents are being urged to wear face masks on public transport and in supermarkets, as the State records 13 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday.
NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant said the use of masks was “strongly encouraged” in settings where physical distancing was hard to maintain, such as on public transport and in supermarkets; in cafes and pubs and at places of worship.
“Wearing a mask in any of these settings is not mandatory but is highly recommended, especially in areas where there has been community transmission,” said Dr Chant.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that a face mask was not a substitute for physical distancing.
“People should continue to maintain their physical distance – it is our most effective weapon. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t maintain your physical distance you should wear a mask,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It is critical the community understands masks should be used in conjunction with other measures, and not as a standalone measure.”
She said masks should be considered a “fourth line of defence” after staying home if unwell and getting tested, maintaining 1.5-metre social distancing and good hand hygiene.
“It is imperative the community understands if they have symptoms they should immediately be tested and self-isolate.”
Dr Chant said while masks were being encouraged, they were not suitable for everyone in the community, such as for young children.
“Currently in NSW, the rate of community transmission does not call for mandatory mask use in the general population,” Dr Chant said.
“However, along with practising good hand-hygiene, people are encouraged to wear face masks particularly in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport. Most of all, stay home if you are unwell.
“NSW Health is continuing to monitor the situation and provide timely advice to the Government on the best defence against this once-in-a-100-year pandemic.”