The Nationals COVID-19 Masks coronavirus COVID pandemic zero cases state parliament restrictions Gippsland South Gippsland

Mask rule needs to be relaxed

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has told State Parliament the compulsory wearing of masks in public should be relaxed.

Mr O’Brien said that given Victoria had now recorded more than 14 days of zero cases there was little justification for masks to be mandatory outdoors in public.

“I accept that wearing a mask is a small and least costly way of managing the COVID risk. But I worry that patience is wearing thin in the community, particularly on outdoor mandatory mask wearing.

“This should be about the level of risk.

“The Government must relax the rule on masks especially in low risk, outdoor environments.

“By all means require them to be worn in supermarkets, shopping centres and other crowded and enclosed spaces, but forcing them be worn by people out for their morning walk or working on their own outdoors is counterproductive.”

Mr O’Brien said his view was backed up by numerous experts.

“The likes of Melbourne University public health Associate Professor Nathan Grills, respected epidemiologists such as Deakin University’s Catherine Bennett and Melbourne University’s Tony Blakely, have all indicated that compulsory mask rules everywhere is unnecessary.

“As we get into the warmer summer months, people will be very frustrated if they continue to be forced to wear masks when the risk is very low, and I worry that it will be counterproductive in encouraging people to abide by the restrictions.”

Mr O’Brien said Wellington and South Gippsland Shires have not had a case since September, and with Victoria virtually COVID-free now the Government needs to adopt a more common sense approach to the risks.

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