Confusion has followed week one of the ACT mask mandate with both the public and the police apparently unsure of the new rules.
With the 48-hour grace period coming to an end on Wednesday, Scullin resident Phil Pellatt was reportedly warned he could be fined $1000 for not wearing a mask outdoors.
Mr Pellatt said he was walking with his wife in Belconnen when a member of the ACT police force wrongly advised they were in breach of the mask mandate.
He said the officer warned them they risked an on the spot fine of $1000 and $8000 if the matter ended up in court.
The ACT Health advice is that masks must be worn outdoors when at public transport hubs, stops and stations.
Mr Pellatt said he was not in one of those areas and carried his mask with him for when he entered public buildings.
"I have no problem with wearing a mask, I just want to work out what the bloody rule is," he said.
Confusion has been an issue for both customers and owners of hospitality venues too, following advice that face masks are required by staff who serve customers but only "strongly recommended" for patrons while at the counter.
"Under the Public Health Direction, patrons are not required to wear a mask when in a hospitality venue. This aligns with requirements currently in place in regional NSW," the COVID-19 website says.
"However ACT Health recommends that patrons consider wearing a mask when they are moving within a venue, for example if they are ordering at a counter, using the bathrooms, or standing in an area whilst waiting for take away. There is no need to wear a mask when seated. This also aligns with the regional NSW advice."
In gyms, masks are required while entering the building but not required during workouts.
At BlocHaus in Fyshwick, masks are required in-between climbs but not required while patrons are on the wall.
A spokesperson from the ACT government said as this was a new public health directive that had never been implemented in the ACT, it was working closely with ACT Policing and Access Canberra to engage with the community and ensure everyone understands these new requirements.
"We've seen a great response from Canberrans and businesses so far and thank them for following the health advice to keep our community safe," the spokesperson said.
This is where you must wear a mask:
- Public transport, including: taxi services, rideshare services, bus and light rail services, community transport services, stations or platforms for train /bus/ light rail, bus stops and taxi ranks, inside the Canberra Airport terminal and during domestic commercial flights in and out of Canberra.
- Supermarkets, shopping centres (including food courts), bank branches, post offices, pharmacies
- Indoor retail premises or business premises that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises, such as petrol stations.
- Beauty salons and parlours: Hairdressing salons, nail salons, beauty salons (removal of the face covering is permitted if necessary), tanning and waxing salons, spas, tattoo and massage parlours
- Betting agencies
- Community centres, youth centres or facilities
- Real estate venues auctions, display homes, open homes
- Galleries, museums, national institutions, cinemas, casinos
- Events: parties, performances etc.
- Aged care facilities
- Religion: public worship, churches or religious services
- Sport: Indoor sports centres (spectators and coaches are required to wear masks at all times) (participants and referees are not required to wear a mask while playing)
- Working at a hospitality venues, including: food and drink premises, micro-breweries and small distilleries, pubs, registered clubs, small bars
- Dropping off and picking up children from childcare/after school care
- Food courts
You do not have to wear a mask when:
- You are eating or drinking
- You are communicating with another person who is deaf or has trouble hearing
- You are at work and the nature of your work makes the wearing of a fitted face covering a risk to your health and safety or another person's health and safety
- Clear enunciation or visibility of the person's mouth is essential
- In an emergency
- Removal of the covering is necessary for the proper provision of the goods and services, for instance if a hairdresser or beautician needs their client to remove their mask to deliver a service
- Exercising, including in a gym
- Participating in sport
- Working in child or after school care holiday programs
- Working in an office environment, unless you work in a customer service role where you are regularly interacting with the public.
Who doesn't need to wear a mask?
- Anyone under 12 years
- A person 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.
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