Time to mask up, Melbourne

It’s been almost two week since the recommendation to wear masks when you couldn’t stay 1.5 metres away from others. This includes public transport.

With COVID-19 case numbers rising, on Sunday they upped the ante: masks (or other face coverings) will be mandatory outside your home (with a few exceptions) from Thursday.

Interestingly this is stricter than in many overseas countries, where masks are often mandatory in public spaces indoors, but not outside.

Still, there’s some benefit in the rules being clear-cut. And while out on my walk, I’m wary of joggers and runners suddenly huffing and puffing past me. Some of them give other people a wide berth, some don’t.

Peter Doherty can see the advantage:

Getting a mask

Given sewing is not my thing, I had ordered some reusable masks way back in April, so we would be ready to start using them when and if there was a recommendation or order to use them.

But my forward planning didn’t include ordering enough for us to be able to swap them in and out as we used them.

Personally I’d rather not buy single-use masks. They have their purpose, but the world has enough litter.

I have since bought some more masks, mostly online. Ironically the easiest to use, best fitting mask is the first one I bought – but they’re no longer available. And while there are now many other suppliers, including local companies, they are understandably now being inundated.

Finding the best mask for you might be luck of the draw. There are lots of different designs, and it’s a little hard to know what works best without trying them. I’ve discovered I personally prefer elastic over ties, and I prefer something with a filter pocket so you can add extra layers (though just tucking a handkerchief into the mask also works okay).

Even with my favourite mask, I wouldn’t say I love wearing it – particularly when I’m on one of my fast walks (so fast that Google Fit sometimes thinks I’m running) when I’m breathing more heavily than usual.

But none of the current situation is ideal. I’ll wear a mask when I’m out. When I have to go out.

It’s just what we all have to do to get through this and help get the numbers down.

How are the rest of you managing?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Time to mask up, Melbourne”

Struggling with masks. I’ve stopped my glasses fogging up but we are using single use masks. At times we have to remove them to eat or drink but it would become expensive to put on a new mask each time. How to do it carefully is hard. We sanitise our hands each time. I had my mask off to drive home today, dangling on the the indicator lever and the surface not touched, but then do I have to put it on to travel in the lift from the carpark to my front door? It had already been used. I had a loop of the mask over my little finger, shopping bag and other bits in the other hand, trying to make sure the mask didn’t touch anything. We have decided to take freezer bags in the future to put used masks into. But what is the border of home? Your front door or the building where you live? We are on a steep learning curve.

My wife did a great job and hand stitched two masks – I couldn’t find any cloth masks in shops, only disposable ones. Don’t like buying personal items online as I can’t see them first.
So we will venture out today looking like Kath Day-Knight and her husband Kel.
A pain, but necessary.
#Andrew, definitely wear a mask in a lift – it’s a very enclosed space.

@Andrew, obviously we’re all learning as we go!

For those of us in a house with no common areas shared with neighbours, it’s easy. Have a mask on if going out the front gate.

It’s obviously a bit more complicated for other types of homes, but I think if it was me, I’d be inclined to have a mask on in any common areas, including lifts and lobbies.

What about for someone in a unit with a shared driveway, taking something out to the bin? Not sure!

“What about for someone in a unit with a shared driveway, taking something out to the bin? Not sure!”

Took the trash out to our communal bin area yesterday without a mask and thought… maybe I should wear a mask to do this. I will form now on, just have to get used to tihs way of life for now for everyone’s benefit.

On the topic of masks, I got some plain looking ones while I was holidaying in Asia but recently I was looking for a transport-themed mask and found some online here:

I was thinking of getting it when I realised that I couldn’t justify paying for the shipping costs. Apparently these are based overseas.

Some Canadians online showed me something produced by Toronto’s equivalent of PTV (, and this made me wonder why our transport authorities here don’t take advantage of what could possibly be a good revenue stream that might have some demand from tourists and transit enthusiasts.

@arfman if anyone else wants to do a bulk order it might make it more cost efficient – 4+ drops the unit price. Wouldn’t mind one each of the connex and tram pattern!

Update: it appears that Redbubble has upgraded their mask design. Hopefully they’re better now – will be interested to see reviews from people.

Can understand the logistics being a bit sketchy with random internet strangers – if the quality of the redbubble masks picks up and anyone is keen hit me up, happy to facilitate :)

I have two reuseable masks, and, a reuseable plastic face shield too.

Most people in my area, are typically using masks. I had to make use of the click and collect at two places on Thursday. They worked fine.

Face mask has become a part of dress or it is better to say is has gained enough space of fashion.
Like wearing shirt and pant, mask is also compulsory.
Nicely written.
Let’s hope for the best.

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