COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Infection can also spread by touching a surface contaminated with infectious respiratory droplets and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has published guidance showing the correct use of face masks for protection against COVID-19, including when to wear one, what type is best and how to use it properly. Using face masks is part of a comprehensive approach to infection prevention and control, which includes measures such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Recommendations for wearing face masks for COVID-19 vary depending on the nature of the work and whether COVID-19 is circulating in the community. In regions where community transmission of COVID-19 is low, health authorities do not currently recommend the routine use of face masks by people who are otherwise well, including at workplaces.
However, you should wear a face mask if you:
- have symptoms and are seeking medical advice or testing for COVID-19
- are in isolation for COVID-19 and are in the same room as another person, or
- are caring for someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
In regions where community transmission is widespread or sustained, health authorities may recommend that face masks are worn to provide extra protection where social distancing can’t be readily maintained. The main benefit of face masks in these situations is to prevent those who are unknowingly infected with COVID-19 from spreading infection to others, and it does this by containing the infected person’s respiratory droplets.
Some people may also choose to wear a face mask if they are at increased risk of severe illness if infected because of their age or a chronic medical condition.
Read more about face masks and COVID-19.