From Monday, along with everyone in Victoria, including Daylesford and Hepburn Springs residents will have to wear masks outside the home.

As well, Stage 3 restrictions will now apply for regional areas following the Premier’s announcements on Sunday. See related story here

The rules for wearing a face mask are reasonably straightforward. You need to wear something to cover your mouth and nose. That could be a disposable or washable mask, or a bandana or a scarf if a mask is not available.

You have to wear the mask when you’re outside your home. That includes work, school, recreation and community activities.

There are a number of exceptions for not wearing a mask. Children under 12 don’t have to wear  one (but they’re not prevented from doing so). Other exceptions include relevant medical conditions, travelling in a vehicle alone or with members of your household, when it would be a risk at work and when directed to take it off to determine identity. You don’t have wear a mask when exercising vigorously, but you have to have one with you. And yes, you can take your face mask off when eating and drinking.

If you don’t have a lawful excuse for wearing a mask, you can be fined $200. Being required to wear a mask to keep people safe from COVID is not an infringement of your rights.

Abusing law enforcement and public health officials who are enforcing COVID restrictions or conducting contact tracing is not acceptable.

At the moment there are no active COVID-19 cases in Hepburn Shire. But there are active cases close by in Moorabool, Mount Alexander, Macedon Ranges and Ballarat.

The main way the virus has been spread in the current Victorian outbreaks is through work settings.  Aged care, meat works and health care have been particularly risky. The virus spreads between workers (and aged care residents and hospital patients) and then workers have spread the virus at home.

It remains critical to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene (hand washing) in all circumstances and to get tested and stay at home if you have any symptoms or think you may have been in contact with some who has COVID.

See related story, Covering Faces in Hepburn Shire, for information about sourcing, sewing and improvising face coverings.