Dan Andrews ends Victorian public transport Covid mask mandate

Dan Andrews FINALLY ends public transport mask mandate after every other state of Australia shamed him into it – but not before handing out 100 pointless fines in a single month

Dan Andrews has caved in and finally ended Victoria’s public transport mask mandate after every other state scrapped theirs.

The Victorian premier was the last holdout after NSW, South Australia, and Queensland ended mandates this week.

More than 100 fines were issued on Victorian public transport and in excess of 181,000 warnings issued in less than a month as part of a Covid-19 mask compliance crackdown.

Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, taxis, or ride-hailing services from 11.59pm on Thursday.

‘The decision brings Victoria in line with mask requirements in most other states, and will provide more national consistency on the approach to mask wearing,’ she said. 

‘These sensible changes provide consistency for the community on mask wearing requirements and I thank the chief health officer for his advice on this matter.

As we move to living with Covid, it’s important we ensure enduring behaviour change in the community – and that means giving people the choice to wear masks to protect themselves and those around them.

‘It’s vitally important that Victorians stay up to date with their Covid vaccinations, to help prevent serious illness and to ease pressure on the health system.’

Masks still have to be worn in hospitals, nursing homes, or any other healthcare facility, and for anyone who had Covid but wasn’t required to isolate.

They were still strongly recommended indoors, in situations where people can’t physically distance, for people who have any Covid symptoms, and for anyone who may be immunocompromised or vulnerable to Covid. 

‘People should also maintain good ventilation indoors, get tested if they have symptoms and speak to their doctor about Covid treatments,’ Ms Thomas said.

Mr Andrews’ government had just days earlier baulked at the suggestion the mandate should end after Western Australia and SA.

‘Our focus remains on educating Victorians rather than handing out fines, which is why we’ve given out almost 160,000 masks to passengers on public transport,’ a government spokesperson said on Monday.

‘Public transport operators are continuing to ensure mask compliance and additional masks have been made available to customers travelling on our public transport network.’

NSW and Queensland announced their end of their mandates on Monday and Tuesday respectively, leaving Victoria all alone in enforcing them.


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