What are the face mask rules in NSW for Covid?

The Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order (No 3) 2021 issued on 25 June 2021 provides for the exceptions to wearing a face mask. It also provides for the circumstances in which you are required to wear a mask.

It is important to be well informed and know what your rights and obligations are in this ever evolving space.

When do I have to wear a mask?

Public transport

You must wear a face mask in NSW when 

  • using public transport, hire vehicles, taxis and rideshare services
  • waiting for public transport at a bus or light rail stop, train station or ferry wharf. 

Non-residential indoor areas

You must wear a fitted face mask when you are in an indoor area of a non-residential premises in NSW.

Examples of the areas where a face mask must be worn are

  • retail or business premises that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises, including
    • supermarkets
    • shopping centres (excluding an indoor recreation facility in a shopping centre)
    • bank branches and post offices
    • hairdressing, nail, beauty, tanning and waxing salons
    • spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours
    • betting agencies
  • any part of a licensed premises that is used for the purposes of gaming, and gaming lounges
  • places of public worship being used for public worship or religious services
  • residential aged care facilities
  • workplaces
  • gym classes or dance classes
  • COVID-19 Safe outdoor gatherings
  • controlled outdoor gatherings
  • entertainment facilities (such as theatres, cinemas, music and concert halls)
  • major recreation facilities (such as stadiums, showgrounds, theme parks, racecourses, and motor racing tracks)
  • indoor recreation facilities (unless it is strenuous exercise).

You must wear a face mask if you

  • work at a hospitality venue located in NSW and
  • deal directly with members of the public.

Premises that are used for the purpose of providing health services are not retail or business premises.

Airports and commercial domestic flights

Face mask rules apply to airports and commercial domestic flights across NSW.

You must wear a face mask when

  • indoors at a NSW airport, including the passenger waiting area and
  • during a domestic commercial flight when it is
    • landing or taking off from a NSW airport or
    • flying in NSW airspace. 

Members of the flight crew and airport workers may remove their face mask when they are

  • not interacting directly with passengers or
  • when they are on an aircraft without any passengers onboard.

Airport workers include:

  • engineers and technical staff 
  • cleaners 
  • baggage handlers 
  • people delivering or removing food and other items in connection with an aircraft 
  • airline employees 
  • law enforcement and border security officers. 

What are the exceptions to wearing a mask?

Individuals aged 12 years old or under do not have to wear a mask in NSW.

Individuals with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a fitted face covering unsuitable including, for example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma, do not have to wear a mask in NSW.

When can I remove my mask?

A person may remove their mask when:

  • eating or drinking
  • communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing,
  • the person is at work and the nature of the person’s work—makes wearing a mask a health and safety risk or when one is must remove their mask to speak clearly and visibly to perform their job
  • in an emergency
  • the removal of the mask is necessary for the proper provision of the goods or service.

There are further restrictions to the above which are industry specific.

Bernard McAuley

McAuley Hawach Lawyers
11 Fennell Street, Parramatta NSW 2124
Telephone: (02) 9633 1826
Web: www.mcauleyhawach.com.au
Email: reception@mhl.net.au  

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