three face masks

Covid’s big cover up

WITH Tasmania’s borders reopened and new Covid infections detected in the North and South, mask wearing has now been mandated for all indoor settings except when at home.

Effective last week and likely to continue for at least two months, masks will be mandatory when inside, including on public transport or in taxis or ride sharing where you could come into contact with another person.

Premier Peter Gutwein made the call at the weekend, arguing masks were a cheap, easy way of reducing the likelihood of Covid-19 spreading.

Masks have already been mandatory in higher-risk settings such as events or large sporting events.

“Mandating them for indoors in Tasmania will add another important safeguard in our defence against potential Covid-19 spread in the community as we continue to see cases, and as we continue to adjust to living with Covid in our community,’’ Mr Gutwein said.

“Many Tasmanians are already wearing masks, both indoors and outdoors, and they have been mandated in some other jurisdictions for many months.’’

At the time of going to print there were 14 active cases in Tasmania.

“We continue to ask everyone to check the coronavirus website for exposure sites, and make sure you contact Public Health if you need advice,’’ Mr Gutwein said.

“I do want to stress once again that this is not unexpected – we always knew that by reopening our borders, Covid would come, and it has.

“What matters is how we deal with it moving forward, and with our vaccination rates high, and with the measures we have implemented, both at our borders and in the community such as mandatory mask wearing, I am confident we are as prepared as we can be.
“Of course, the best protection you can have and provide others with is vaccination, and Tasmanians have done a fantastic job right throughout.
“The success of our vaccination program has gotten us to where we are today, and meant we were able to open as one of the safest places in the world, which is a credit to everyone.

“I do want to urge Tasmanians to keep turning up – if you’ve had your first dose, make sure to get your second, and let’s keep pushing to get up close to 95 per cent of our population fully vaccinated.
“And if it’s been five months since your second dose, make sure to book in for a booster, and give yourself the extra protection you need to protect yourself, your family and your loved ones.’’

Public Health clinics will remain largely open over the Christmas and New Year period and bookings can be made online at coronavirus.tas. or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

“We will continue to see cases in the coming days and weeks, but our processes are working, and I remind Tasmanians to keep doing the little things to keep yourself and the community safe,’’ he said.
“Wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, observe social distancing, stay home if you have cold or flu-like systems and get tested – and if you haven’t had your first dose, please, make sure you book in as soon as possible.’’