“Passengers are currently required to wear a fitted face mask covering their nose and mouth while travelling on all forms of public transport, unless a passenger has a valid exemption.”
The Age has confirmed that protective services officers – who are part of Victoria Police – no longer hand out masks to those who might be caught without one on the train or tram.
John Bourke started wearing his mask everywhere since the surge in COVID infections and wants more government action.Credit:Wayne Taylor
“Transit police and protective services officers continue to assist with enforcing mask-wearing rules on public transport, with education a focus,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.
In Victoria, masks are still required on public transport and in rideshare vehicles, in high-risk settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities, and on domestic and international flights.
John Bourke, who lives in Carlton, strongly supports the re-introduction of mask mandates in shopping centres, indoors, and in busy places.
“Making it compulsory is important for the sake of society. I’ve got so many friends who are sick from COVID,” he said.
Yvonne Zhou believes masks should be optionalCredit:Wayne Taylor
But for CBD resident Yvonne Zhou, wearing a mask is something she only does when on public transport or if she is sick.
She believes masks should remain optional and says that’s a fairly common opinion among her friends.
“I’m wearing a mask [outside] because I didn’t wear makeup today,” Zhou said. “But some of my other friends think that mandates should be re-introduced.”
On Friday, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) reiterated the “shared responsibility” of minimising the impact of COVID-19.
The committee, which is the key decision-making body for health emergencies, said Australians should wear a mask when in crowded, indoor public environments, including on public transport.
“This is important to protect yourself and others,” the AHPPC said in a statement.
While the AHPPC has not made any recommendations for mask mandates to be reinstated – the committee recommended the removal of mask mandates inside airport terminals just last month – a number of doctors and epidemiologists have encouraged Victorians to wear masks in crowded areas.
Sale man Gray Galey, who was visiting Melbourne on Sunday, said while masks should be optional, there should be more encouragement from the government to wear them.
Toni Galey, from Sale, is wary of COVID infections and wears her mask in busy areas.Credit:Wayne Taylor
Both he and his wife, Toni, wear masks while indoors, regardless of whether they’re in Melbourne or their Gippsland hometown.
Since her friend died from the virus, Toni has become more concerned with the risk and more frequently wears a mask.
“I don’t want to catch COVID,” she said. “I don’t usually wear them outside, but sometimes I forget to take it off.”
Snow Yue (left) and Grace Cheng wear masks when out, but don’t think mandates should be re-introduced. Credit:Wayne Taylor
This sentiment was echoed by Snow Yue and Grace Cheng. They both choose to wear masks in busy places such as supermarkets and on public transport, but said mask-wearing should remain a choice because “different people have different ways of doing things.”
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