The New South Wales Government has said that from today it “strongly recommends” hospitality staff members should wear a face mask.

It comes on the same day that Woolworths also “strongly recommends” that all customers wear a mask, across all its stores including Dan Murphy’s and BWS as well as all its ALH venues.

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.”

Woolworths has also said that from today it is strongly encouraging the use of face coverings by customers across all Woolworths Group stores and sites in NSW and the ACT, and certain Queensland hotspots.

CEO Brad Banducci said: “Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it’s important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19.

“We’re asking our teams to lead by example, and this includes our group executive team.

“Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19. By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe.”

Customers will not be turned away if not wearing a mask, but anyone not wearing a mask should “remain vigilant on adhering to the social distancing and health measures already in place”.

The AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Gaming, John Green, said the association continues to follow the State Government’s health advice and that it has updated members on face masks.

“The AHA NSW has immediately advised member hotels the NSW Government is now recommending hotel staff wear masks where they are not able to maintain an appropriate physical distance,” Green said.

“Hotels already have a range of strict tracing, social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

“We will continue to follow the advice of NSW Health as we have since the start of the pandemic. We ask all patrons to co-operate with staff.”

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.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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