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Coronavirus Australia: Mandatory masks reinstated in ACT with speculation NSW could be next

Mask mandate REINTRODUCED just days before Christmas in the ACT – so will NSW be next?

  • ACT reinstates mask wearing for retail, indoor workplaces and aged care homes
  • Nation’s capital seen a ‘significant’ spike in Covid cases, which include Omicron
  • Residents in aged care homes will also be restricted to five visitors per day
  • Growing pressure on neighbouring state NSW to follow suit on mask mandate 

The ACT are hours away from reinstating the mandatory wearing of masks as a concerning spike in Covid-19 cases soars in neighbouring NSW.

Masks must be worn in all indoor settings, including retail, hospitality venues, workplaces, aged care facilities and on public transport in Canberra

The reinstated rules come into effect 11.59pm Tuesday.

‘In the past week we have seen a significant increase in case numbers in the ACT, and around half of our active cases have been confirmed as the Omicron variant,’ ACT’s acting chief minister Yvette Berry said.

The wearing of masks will be reinstated in public indoor settings in the ACT from midnight

‘Wearing a mask indoors is a small price to pay to keep your family and friends safe. In addition to wearing a mask indoors, we all have a responsibility to continue our COVID-safe behaviours, practise physical distancing and good hygiene.’ 

Visitor limits will also be reintroduced at aged care facilities, where residents will be restricted to five visitors per day and at any one time.

There is no daily limit on the number of visitors for end-of-life visits.

‘While we have world-leading vaccination rates here in the ACT, it is important that we continue to strive for the right balance in our public health and social measures to keep our community safe,’ health minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

‘Reinstating mandatory mask wearing indoors is a sensible step to mitigate the risks posed by Omicron. We will continue to monitor the situation over the holiday period, listen to the health advice and respond further if needed.’

Masks have been reinstated as the ACT experiences a 'significant' increase in case numbers

Masks have been reinstated as the ACT experiences a ‘significant’ increase in case numbers

The reinstated rules will remain place over the Christmas/New Year period to be reviewed further in January.

The ACT recorded 16 new cases on Tuesday while NSW recorded 3,057, Australia’s highest spike in daily infections during the pandemic.

There’s growing pressure on NSW to also reinstate masks in public indoor settings a week after the restrictions were scrapped.

Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly has written to premiers and chief ministers to recommending ‘masks should be mandated in all indoor settings including retail, hospitality when not eating or drinking, and entertainment facilities’.