Victoria has ordered millions of face masks as school students and teachers will receive them for free as the state prepares for mandatory face coverings.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists there will be plenty of masks to go around, as NSW residents are also urged to consider wearing them where social distancing is not possible.
The Victorian government has ordered 1.37 million reusable masks to give out to teachers and students, on top of 1.2 million single-use masks.
Masks will be mandatory in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from Thursday in a bid to curb community transmission of the virus.
Victoria has ordered millions of face masks as school students and teachers will receive them for free as the state prepares for mandatory face coverings. In one Asian-owned Melbourne store masks are selling for $59.99 per 50 (pictured)
A view of face masks for sale inside a store in Melbourne on Monday as the city prepares for mandatory face coverings
Masks will be mandatory in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from Thursday in a bid to curb community transmission of the virus
Residents in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire sprung without a mask in public risk a $200 fine.
The federal government is also providing another million masks for Victorian workers in aged care and disability centres.
Victoria recorded 275 new coronavirus cases on Monday and another death, a woman in her 80s, bringing the national toll to 123.
Premier Daniel Andrews is confident strict lockdowns will be effective, so long as everyone follows the rules.
‘We can’t afford to ignore the absolute truth of what we face and that is that this virus is not yet contained,’ he said in Melbourne on Monday.
‘We can’t wish it away. We can’t ignore it.’
People trapped in hotspots have been flocking to chemists to stock up on masks before Thursday.
On Monday, some chemists in Melbourne’s west were already beginning to run short of supplies, with at least one chemist in the hotspot of Wyndham depleted entirely.
While stocks are expected to be quickly replenished, Victorians are being urged to consider making their own reusable masks.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a sign advertising masks in Melbourne on Monday
Signage for facemarks and gloves are seen at an entrance to a Priceline Pharmacy in Melbourne
Victoria’s COVID-19 tally continues to worry authorities and Victorians trapped within the state
Down on the streets, confused Melburnians have bombarded their local chemists with questions.
A Department of Health and Human Services web page continues to display out-of-date and incorrect information.
Prices varied from chemist to chemist, with shoppers in Hoppers Crossing paying anywhere up to $5 a mask.
One chemist had completely run out of its 10 for $15 masks and only had $5 face shields left.
Chemist Warehouse appeared to offer the best bang for buck, selling a 50 pack of masks for $49.
On Werribee’s main strip, a 10 pack of masks cost $40.
In Wyndham Vale, where shoppers could be seen out in their fluffy slippers and face masks, single masks were selling for about $3 a pop.
Premier Daniel Andrews is confident strict lockdowns will be effective, so long as everyone follows the rules
At Werribee Pacific shopping centre, people can get a 10 pack of masks for $20
Face masks in the COVID hotspot of Wyndham vary in price from suburb to suburb. At Manor Lakes, in Wyndham Vale, people could pick up a mask for a little under $3
In one Asian-owned Melbourne store masks are selling for $59.99 per 50.
The prime minister said mask production had been ramped up to meet demand.
‘It might require a bit of patience at the outset, when there’s a bit of a rush on,’ he said.
‘And for the state government who has decided to make that mandatory, I have no doubt that they would have considered the supply issues when they made that decision.’
More than masks, the PM said, it was vital for everyone to keep up social distancing and hygeine habits.
Twenty new cases were confirmed in NSW on Monday, all linked to three growing clusters and returned travellers.
Across the road from the Werribee Pacific shopping centre, people could pick up two masks for $10, which can be worn for about eight hours before they need replacing
In Werribee, a 10 pack of masks will set you about about $40 and stocks were getting low on Monday
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said businesses had been given a week to comply with tougher restrictions – ‘against my better judgment’ – but the full letter of the law would apply from Friday.
‘Some businesses have been absolutely outstanding … you can feel when you walk in the door, you can tell they are COVID-safe, but too many aren’t taking them seriously enough,’ she said in Sydney.
She also asked people to limit non-essential travel, avoid crowds and ‘if you cannot guarantee people around you will respect that social distancing, you must wear a mask’.
Authorities are trying to trace a growing coronavirus cluster on the NSW south coast, with the Soldiers Club in Batemans Bay closed for two weeks after eight people tested positive.
Anyone who dined at the waterfront venue between July 13 and 17 is being urged to get tested and self-isolate.
Canberrans who were there during school holidays will be required to self-isolate.
What A Mask Costs Living In A Melbourne COVID Hotspot
Advance Pharmacy Hoppers Crossing: 10 for $15 or face shields $4.99 each
Wyndham Discount Chemist: $10 for two Kn95 masks offering 8 hour wear time
Priceline Werribee Pacific: $20 for 10 pack
Chemist Warehouse: 50 pack for $49 or 10 for $13
Direct Chemist Warehouse, Werribee : $40 a 10 pack
Manor Lakes Pharmacy Select: $2.95 single mask or $29.50 for 10