Well fuck: Victoria has officially dropped its mask mandate for public transport, following in the footsteps of other states.
Victorians will now no longer be required to wear masks on public transport or in taxis and rideshares, with restrictions easing from 11.59pm on Thursday September 22. And just in time for a bunch of people to head over to the AFL Grand Final! Great!
Masks are still “strongly recommended” for indoor settings in Vic and are mandatory in places like care facilities, health providers and hospitals.
Despite masks being an essential way of protecting the wider community — particularly people who are immunocompromised or disabled — they’ve been scrapped on public transport in most states and territories.
This is the worst take ever. The fact they haven’t been taken more seriously as mandatory *especially* on public transport has been incredibly disappointing, let alone scrapping it all together.
— 🍑emsomerville🍑 (@lickmycupcakes) September 21, 2022
Victorian Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said masks in certain circumstances would now be a “choice”.
“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,” she said, per the ABC.
She also said people should keep up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.
In Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, mask mandates for public transport and taxis have already been scrapped.
The president of the Australian Medical Association Steve Robson was pretty critical of these governments’ call.
“This is a major decision which will have consequences, and it should have been done with national consensus and clear guidance,” he said in a statement.
“Masks kept us safe from infection when we didn’t have a vaccine and they continue to be an effective, low-cost, low-hassle and proven way to protect ourselves and others.”
He also described masks as “the last of the sensible protections” and urged Aussies “not to abandon” them.
While we might not be mandated to keep wearing a mask on the train, it still remains one of the top-tier ways to protect those around you.