Face masks ‘strongly recommended’ for NSW hospitality staff

Speaking at a press conference yesterday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state Government was “strongly recommending” people wear face masks in four key situations, including customer-facing roles in hospitality or retail.

“I want to stress it is not compulsory, but it is a strong recommendation from Health,” the Premier said.

“Given where we are in the pandemic, given the risk posed from Victoria and given the rate of community transmission in New South Wales, when you are in an enclosed space and you cannot guarantee social distancing, you should be wearing a mask.

“If you are a staff member or you are in an organisation or an enterprise that is customer facing, we would like to see you wearing a mask.

“These are recommendations to keep all of us safe and they’re recommendations to make sure we keep New South Wales in the position we are in.”

Some venues were ahead of the curve on this call, with the House of Pocket team at Button, Stitch and Pocket Bar adding face masks to their uniform last weekend.

CEO of the Group, Karl Schlothauer told Bars and Clubs: “While it is not mandated at the moment we wanted to get ahead and look after our people and their roles within the business.

“This adds to what we are are already doing to be a Covid safe venue, and any extra step we can take to look after our staff and guests is always welcomed.”

The face mask advice comes as cases continue to rise, and as part of a wider suite of containment measures in Victoria, from midnight all Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, with a number of lawful exemptions.

Other than that the advice from Australia’s other states and territories is face masks are not compulsory.

The main advice points are:

  • The main value of wearing a mask is to protect other people.
  • If you are feeling well, there is currently no need to wear a protective mask, unless your doctor has told you to or you are caring for someone who might have COVID-19.
  • If you cannot maintain physical distance, wearing a mask is an important protective measure.
  • People should practise good hygiene and physical distancing in their workplace.
  • The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is stay home if you are sick and wash your hands often.

Premier Berejiklian said: “I cannot stress enough how critical the next few weeks are. When we learned of how critical the situation was in Victoria, we said New South Wales would require extra vigilance over a four to six week period. We are about half way through that period and we are holding the line and doing OK.

“But I can’t stress enough the new few weeks will make or break us in terms of the way we get through this pandemic.”

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