Mandatory mask wearing in public

Last Updated: 20 Jan 2022 2:18pm

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Masks in public indoor spaces

It is a requirement for people aged 12 years and older (unless exempt) in Tasmania to wear a mask in all public indoor spaces as an additional layer of protection against COVID-19. This requirement is captured in a Direction under the Public Health Act 1997.

An indoor space is one substantially enclosed by permanent or temporary roof and walls. This includes temporary structures, such as a marquee.

Masks are required at indoor private events – those not open to the public – unless they are in a residential premises. You do not have to wear a face mask in your home or when visiting another person’s home.

Individuals are responsible for providing their own mask. Carry a mask with you whenever you leave your house.

You must wear a mask in the following places:

Workplaces

Examples include offices, retail premises, studios and service centres, and when providing commercial services in someone else’s home eg when cleaning or doing repairs/building work indoors. You do not need to wear a mask if you are in the workspace alone - ie you work alone in an office - however you will need to put a mask on if another person enters that space or you leave and enter a shared indoor space - ie a meeting room or kitchen. Masks are still required when protective screens are in place.

Education settings

Examples include university buildings, schools and classrooms. Children in primary school do not need to wear a mask while on school grounds - ie a 12 year old primary school student does not need to wear a mask in the classroom but will need to wear one in other public settings e.g. the supermarket in line with the mask requirement for people aged 12 years and older. Staff in primary schools must wear a mask e.g. teachers.

Businesses, shops and accommodation

Examples include supermarkets, retail stores, shopping centres, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants, cafés and pubs.

You may remove your mask to eat or drink but must put it back on immediately afterwards.

You don’t need to wear a mask while walking between businesses outdoors - eg on the street - however choosing to keep your mask on while moving between indoor venues will minimise the number of times you need to touch your mask and offer additional protection.

Masks are required in public/shared spaces in accommodation venues, such as hotels and caravan parks. They are not required in bed and breakfast operations in residential premises.

Boats

Masks are required in indoor areas of commercial or recreational boats, unless they are a residence (home). Masks are not required to be worn when a passenger is in their cabin. This advice applies to cruise ships and other similar vessels operating in Tasmania.

Exercise, sport and recreation

Masks are required in indoor sporting and exercise facilities - for example fitness studios and gyms - except while doing intense physical exercise - for example, playing a game of indoor netball - or swimming.

The kinds of activities that will be 'intense physical exercise' will vary between individuals but as a general rule, you can remove your mask if you are out of breath or puffing. Examples might be walking briskly or running on a treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, or completing an intense cardio workout.

Masks are required to be worn while doing other activities that are not intense, such as stretching.

Staff such as trainers and officials such as umpires and commentators can remove masks if clear enunciation is a requirement of their role or they are also exercising.

Spectators and players not part of the game must wear masks.

Service providers and community venues

Examples include at Service Tasmania service centres, banks, GPs, pharmacies, optometrists, childcare centres, funeral homes, churches, community halls and all government or community service providers such as Centrelink, Foodbanks or employment services. People living in homeless shelters are not required to wear a mask (masks are required for staff).

Public transport

Examples include on buses (including tour buses), in taxis and in rideshare services.

Hospitals and aged care

The requirement to wear masks in all public indoor spaces is in addition to previously mandated venues such as hospitals and aged care facilities.

Airports, aircraft and Spirit of Tasmania

Masks must be worn at Tasmanian airports, ports, on board aircraft and the Spirit of Tasmania.

Events

The mask requirement for large outdoor events with more than 1000 patrons remains under the Events Framework.

If attending an event that requires masks, you must wear your mask while queuing for, or entering or exiting from, the event.

Everyone at the event including staff, volunteers, ushers, food and beverage vendors will need to wear a mask. It is the event organiser’s responsibility to advise vendors and third parties about their obligation to wear a mask, but it is up to everyone to supply their own mask at the event.

A mask may be removed when a person is performing or rehearsing for a theatrical, musical or dance performance. A mask must be worn immediately after the performance or rehearsal is finished.

Masks must be worn indoors at weddings and funerals other than if you are:

  • in the process of being married (ie bridal couple being married in the ceremony)
  • enunciating as part of employment (eg funeral directors or wedding celebrants)
  • eating or drinking

Masks can be removed during photography, but services should be provided outdoors where possible.

Exceptions

You do not need to wear a mask when:

  • Outdoors - unless attending a large event. Read more about wearing masks at events above.
  • In your home or when visiting the home of someone else. People living in homeless shelters are not required to wear a mask (masks are required for staff).
  • Working, volunteering or studying alone in an indoor space and there is no one else in that space, You must put on a mask if another person enters the space, other than someone you live with.
  • Performing or rehearsing eg actors, musicians, dancers.
  • In your room while staying in accommodation such as a hotel, caravan or short-term rental accommodation – but you must wear a mask when you are in public/shared spaces such as lobbies and shared amenities. This applies to guests and staff.
  • Eating, drinking or taking medicine – replace your mask as soon as you are finished.
  • Communicating with a person who is deaf, or has impaired hearing, and visibility of your mouth is essential for the communication.
  • Clear enunciation, or visibility of the mouth, is required as part of your employment or training.
  • Receiving medical care or treatment that can’t be provided while wearing a face mask.
  • Receiving a treatment or service that can’t be provided while wearing a face mask. Examples of services include haircuts, facials, massage, piercings, make up and body modification.
  • Travelling in personal vehicle, whether alone or with others. Taxis and rideshare vehicles are not personal vehicles.
  • Doing intense physical exercise or swimming – in fitness studios and gyms, wear your mask while inside other than when doing intense exercise.
  • There is an emergency and it is not practicable or safe to wear a face mask, including escaping harm or the risk of harm.
  • Wearing a face mask would create a risk to your health or safety (eg creates difficulty breathing), including where use of other protective equipment – such as a full-face protective helmet - makes it impractical to also wear a face mask.
  • You are a prisoner in a prison, or detained in a remand centre, youth residential centre or youth justice centre subject to any policies of that prison/centre.
  • You are requested to remove your face mask by a person in authority to ascertain or to confirm your identity.
  • An exemption or exception is provided in writing by the Director of Public Health (or delegate).

Remember that whilst it is not mandatory to wear a mask outdoors, you may want to wear one as an additional safety measure against COVID-19.

Exemptions

Where masks are required, exceptions to wearing one include:

  • Children aged under 12 years or those undertaking primary education
  • Anyone who has medical certification (or other documentation from a medical practitioner) of a physical or mental health, condition or disability that makes wearing a fitted mask unsuitable
  • Anyone with an exemption from the Director of Public Health or their delegate. You must apply for this exemption. Examples include removing your mask for compassionate reasons i.e. providing end of life care.

Reasons for not wearing a mask are not always obvious, so please be respectful of others.

Compliance

Individuals are responsible for wearing a mask where required and supplying their own mask. A business or event operator can refuse entry if someone is not wearing a mask and does not have an exemption. Individuals may face a fine of $778.50 for failing to comply with a direction to wear a mask.

Signage is available to help business and event operators promote the need for masks. Search the Keep it COVID Safe resources.