HEALTH leaders in Ballarat are urging people to keep wearing masks when outdoors at all times, despite a slight easing in business and social setting restrictions.
UFS chief Lynne McLennan confirmed there had been confusion in the community as to mask rules, particularly with so many changing restrictions, but the ruling was to wear a mask outdoors even when you can physically distance.
This includes when walking the lake or in neighbourhoods.
Mask rules are different to Victoria's snap lockdown in May when masks were to be worn outdoors when physical distancing was not possible.
Ms McLennan said different messaging from New South Wales, where the virus was fast rising, could also have added to mask confusion.
Masks are the normal now and we all have to accept this this is a highly contagious virus still active in our state.Lynne McLennan, UFS chief
"Generally compliance in Ballarat is pretty good, particularly with masks worn indoors, but I think the issue is there have been so many changes," Ms McLennan said.
"Masks are the normal now and we all have to accept this this is a highly contagious virus still active in our state."
Mask exemptions for outdoors include people involved in strenuous physical exercise such as running, jogging, swimming or cycling on their private property.
Face masks must be fitted, not loose like bandanas or snoods.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Victorian Government points to a study from Burnet Institute released this month reinforcing the vital role masks played in slowing the spread of the virus in Victoria's second lockdown last year.
The study found masks "turned" the virus' second wave in the state by having "a direct impact in stopping people from spreading the virus and stopping other people from getting the virus if they're in an area where it's been spread", according to report co-author Allan Saul.
Ms McLennan said the fact sporting matches at the MCG and AAMI Park proved big transmission events to spark this latest lockdown showed how being outdoors was no longer considered enough of a safe measure.
She said most cases were not necessarily from sitting in the same areas as other fans but choke point outside stadiums, like queues.
Victorian COVID-19 restrictions are set to next be reviewed in a fortnight's time.
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