COVID-19 in Victoria has escalated over the last week with 484 new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours. As a result, the wearing of masks when outside of the house is now compulsory within Melbourne and Mitchell Shire Regions. Penalties for not wearing a mask include fines of $200 as of 11:59pm Wednesday the 22nd of July.
The largest cause of transmissions has been people feeling unwell and not isolating. The government has reminded everyone that if they are feeling ill, they must get immediately tested and then isolate at home. There is currently a $1500 worker support payment in place for those who have had to isolate to due to insecure working conditions.
If you believe you may be unwell, please contact the governments support hotline on 1800 675 398 for more information.
The government has put polices in place that state “common sense should guide us” with the understanding that there can be accessibility issues that prevent people from wearing masks. Examples given are people with autism who may find it difficult to wear a mask, as well as those who rely on lip reading or have other accessibility needs.
We understand it will be difficult for people with mental health issues to wear a mask. Not only can it be claustrophobic, but the impact of seeing others wearing them can be confronting. However, we do suggest that everyone wear masks as much as possible, not just for the safety of others, but also for yourself. Not wearing a mask could lead to difficult conversations with the police and members of the public, even in cases where someone has a “common sense” exemption to wearing one. If you are walking with your mask and feel overwhelmed or anxious, take a moment to gather yourself. Pull your mask away from your face to take a deep breath, making sure to not touch the front of the mask or your face.
For those looking for more information on these regulations, the Department of Health and Human Services has put out a guide on these mask regulations, including a guide on how to make your own mask as well as how to properly ensure you are wearing one effectively and hygienically. Click here to find out more.
Though wearing a scarf or other cloth covering over your nose and mouth is permitted as a short term solution, a more fitted mask is ideal.
If you wish to make your own mask, we at VMIAC have been getting creative and using this pattern! Click here to check it out!