Face masks are an additional physical barrier to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Make sure you’re covered to protect yourself and others.

In South Australia, public and private hospitals will continue to have policies requiring masks.

GPs and other health care sites may also continue to enforce mask requirements to protect at risk patients and clients.

If you have tested positive to COVID-19 or are a close contact, it’s recommended you wear a mask when you are in indoor public places or on public transport.

Children under 12 years are not required to wear a mask. Masks or face coverings should not be worn by children under 2 years or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

A suitable face mask includes reusable cloth masks, and single-use face masks (commonly called surgical masks) that covers the nose and mouth.

Please be respectful to others as reasons for not wearing a mask are not always obvious.

Wearing a face mask

  • Have multiple masks so you can easily replace a dirty mask with a clean one.
  • A single-use surgical mask should be changed at least every four hours, or if it is compromised (for example, damp or damaged). Consider timing meal or bathroom breaks with mask changes.
  • Make sure that your mask does not have holes or a valve. This can result in breathing out the virus if you have COVID-19.
  • Make sure your mask is not wet, otherwise it will not function correctly.
  • Scarves, bandannas, snoods/gaiters and face shields on their own are not adequate substitutes for masks.

How to fit your mask correctly

  • If you wear a mask, you need to wear it properly to make sure it’s effective.
  • A mask should fit securely around your face, covering both your nose and mouth areas at all times.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face, secured with ties at the back of your head, or by ear loops.

How to put on your mask safely

  • Before putting the mask on, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth at all times.

During use

  • Do not touch the front of your mask while wearing it.
  • If you do touch the mask, wash or sanitise your hands immediately.
  • Do not allow the mask to hang around your neck, this includes when eating and drinking.
  • Do not allow the mask to sit under your nose.

After use

  • Use the ties or ear loops to remove the mask.
  • Do not touch the front of your mask while removing it.
  • Store cloth face masks in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
  • Wash your cloth mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If your mask is wet or dirty from sweat, saliva, make-up, or other liquids or substances, keep it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it.
  • If you are taking off your mask to eat or drink outside of your home, you can place it somewhere safe to keep it clean, such as your pocket, purse, or paper bag.
  • Single-use masks should not be re-used, and should be thrown away after each use.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser.
  • Do not dispose of masks into a recycling bin. Dispose in a bag or lined bin.

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How to wear a mask: Australia's Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer

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