Canberrans will be urged to wear masks at Woolworths stores from Monday under a new policy covering the ACT, NSW and parts of Queensland. The supermarket giant said on Thursday night it would "strongly encourage" face coverings in NSW and the ACT, although shoppers would not be turned away if they didn't comply.
This advice covers Woolworths Supermarkets, Big W, BWS, Dan Murphys, Woolworths Metro Food Stores and ALH Hotels.
This advice is in addition to the mandatory requirements for face coverings in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, which will be extended to the entire state of Victoria on August 2.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the safety of customers and employees was a top priority, and Woolworths wpi;d continue to work with the federal health department.
"Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it's important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19," Mr Banducci said.
He said Woolworths would provide masks to employees.
Mr Banducci said Woolworths executives would also wear masks to lead by example.
"Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19.
"By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe."
The ACT has not been significantly affected by the wave of cases in Victoria and outbreaks in NSW. A spokesperson from ACT supermarket chain Supabarn said the company did not have a policy on masks yet.
The ACT's current health advice is that masks are not required for people who feel healthy.
According to the ACT Health website: "In general, if you are healthy you do not need to wear a mask. This is especially true given there is no evidence of community transmission in the ACT."
The advice differs though for people suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
"If you are in quarantine or self-isolation, wear a surgical (single use) face mask if you need to leave your home for medical attention.
"Wear a surgical (single use) face mask if you have symptoms and are in the same room as other people in your home."