Queenslanders confused over mask-wearing rules


Queenslanders have expressed confusion over the continuation of directives to wear masks as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the three-day lockdown would end at 6pm on Monday.

The cautious restrictions triggered by the introduction of the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19 will come to an end, but those in Greater Brisbane will be required to wear masks for another 10 days.

The direction will provide a safety buffer as health authorities scramble to test the remaining contacts of the infected woman who had travelled through Brisbane before testing positive to the destructive strain of the virus.

Residents fumed at Queensland Health for forcing people to wear masks during the three-day lockdown even if they’re alone in their cars, with one of many responses on the authority’s Facebook post accusing it of “making it up as they go along”.

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Many expressed confusion over the new directives on Monday, with Ms Palaszczuk saying: “if in doubt, wear a mask.”

Residents in Greater Brisbane — encompassing the City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, and Redland City — are required to carry a mask at all times when they leave their homes, and it must be worn in indoor spaces until January 22.

These locations include:

  • Shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets
  • Hospitals and aged care facilities
  • Churches and places of worship
  • Libraries
  • Indoor recreational facilities and gyms
  • Indoor workplaces (where you can’t socially distance)
  • Public transport, taxis and rideshare
  • Airports and travelling on planes.

“Our initiative that we are putting in place with masks is very similar to Victoria and NSW where we will be mandating the wearing of masks in certain places, particularly public indoor areas,” Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told reporters.

Authorities also recommended wearing a mask when outdoors if you are unable to stay more than 1.5 metres away from other people, such as at walkways and thoroughfares.

“It is really important that we all do our bit over the next 10 days so that we can get back to where we have been, which has been some of the lowest restrictions across the country,” Ms D’Ath said.

“This will see Queensland move quicker through our restrictions and dealing with the virus than any other state has seen in recent clusters across Australia.

“But of course if you want to be extra careful you can wear a mask whenever you feel safe to do so and you feel comfortable in wearing a mask anywhere in Queensland.”

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