Mandatory mask wearing on public transport scrapped in both NSW and South Australia in latest change to COVID rules English Headline

Masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport across South Australia from Tuesday, with New South Wales following suit with the COVID-19 rule change a day later.  

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said his government had received advice from the state’s Acting Chief Public Health Officer Dr Chris Lease the mask mandate – in place on public transport since July 2021 – could be lifted.

The removal of the mask requirement comes as the state records an average 480 COVID-19 cases per day, less than half of the 1,062 infections recorded one month ago on August 19.

Mr Malinauskas described the rule change as “yet another step towards our post-pandemic future”.

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“I have always said we will seek to remove restrictions where it is safe to do so, and the health advice supports today’s changes,” he said. 

“Other states are moving to remove mask requirements on public transport, and we have always placed a high priority on national consistency when it comes to restrictions.

“Of course, if commuters wish to continue to wear masks on public transport, they are free to do so.”

The change comes less than two weeks after the mask mandate for domestic planes and incoming international flights was scrapped by the Albanese Government.   

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said lifting the mask requirement on public transport – including taxis and ride share services – from Wednesday, September 21 is a “common sense approach”.  

“This is a common sense approach that brings the rules into line for people travelling on buses or trains with those for planes and airport terminals,” Mr Perrottet said.

The announcements from both states bring South Australia and NSW into line with Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.  

Masks will still be required at public hospitals, private health facilities and residential aged care facilities in NSW.

Meanwhile, South Australia is easing visitor restrictions at residential aged care facilities, from Friday, September 23.

“Visitors will no longer have to be vaccinated and there will no longer be a cap on the number of visitors if less than 70 per cent of residents are vaccinated,” a statement said. 

“QR codes will no longer be required at hospitals, disability care facilities and health care settings.” 

English Headline

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