NSW shoppers told to wear face masks to fight COVID
Masks are set to become the next new norm as supermarkets and shops start requiring customers to cover their faces.
Woolworths is "strongly encouraging" shoppers in Fairfield and Liverpool to wear masks in its stores, including supermarkets, BWS, Dan Murphy's and Big W.
The NSW government has not yet mandated masks, but Health Minister Brad Hazzard said they "worked well for The Masked Crusader, Zorro, and today can work well for us - particularly when it is part of our armoury to beat COVID-19.
"In addition to social isolating, our armoury includes constant cleaning of hands, getting tested and staying home if you have any flu-like symptoms.
"If we do all that we should be as effective as the Masked Crusader."
Apple stores already require all customers wear masks.
In a letter to Woolworths Reward customers, the chain's chief executive Brad Banducci hinted more stores could follow, explaining the outbreak in Victoria "and to a lesser extent NSW" was "an unfortunate reminder that we continue to live with COVID.
"Face masks are increasingly becoming part of everyday life. If toilet paper was the symbol of the first phase of COVID, then masks are symbolic of this phase," he wrote.
"With face masks fast becoming part of everyday life in Victoria (and indeed in many parts of Europe and the United States), it feels prudent to prepare for the same in NSW."
Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association secretary Bernie Smith said the union was urging employers to offer staff masks and training.
"Employers need to have masks for staff and staff are encouraged to wear them," he said. "And they need to have sufficient masks to be able to be changed during a shift."
Coles has asked shoppers to wash or sanitise their hands before entering stores, use contactless payment whenever possible, avoid touching faces - masked or not - and cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow.
Among those wearing masks while out shopping at their local Woolworths store in Liverpool yesterday were nurse Susan Duffy and her grandchildren Alexis and Imogen Schroder.
Ms Duffy said she was disappointed by the number of shoppers without masks.
"Too many people seem to have forgotten we're still in a pandemic because it has been dragging on for so long they've become complacent," she said.
Ms Duffy was among the estimated one in 20 Westfield Liverpool shoppers wearing masks yesterday.
Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott yesterday warned that residents at evacuation centres during the looming storms would need masks.
WARNIE CAUGHT IN THE COVERS
Sporting superstars are obviously able to get their hands on personalised face masks.
Wearing a fancy black mask with an SW logo to shield him from the dangers of COVID-19, former spin king Shane Warne wasn't going to be fined for breaching the latest health regulations in Melbourne yesterday.
Pity he didn't apply the same diligence to his parking arrangements.
After a lengthy visit to an alternative medical practice, he returned to his vehicle to find a dreaded white ticket flapping under the wipers of the luxury matt black Mercedes SUV.
Warne had spent almost two hours at a traditional Chinese medicine centre in Melbourne - possibly tending to some niggling injuries from his years as the world's best spin bowler, or maybe a case of RSI in those texting fingers.
His black mask has his initials in big bold lettering together with '23' - the number he wore on his back during the 145 Tests and 194 One Day Internationals he played for Australia.