Sydney commuters may be forced to wear face masks on public transport when the work from home order is lifted on December 16.
The shock development comes as Sydney’s public transport network will be increased significantly next month as coronavirus restrictions ease.
Mask use is said to have dwindled to as low as 15 per cent, with the state government seriously considering mandating the measure.
They could also double down and issue fines for people who refuse to comply.
Commuters on Sydney trains (pictured above on November 10) could be forced to wear face masks in December once the work from home order is lifted
Commuters should expect to see more people (pictured on November 10) on public transport come December 16 in Sydney
NSW transport minister Andrew Constance pleaded with commuters to don masks on trains, buses, ferries and the light rail before the government is forced to make it a mandatory exercise.
‘It’s just vital as we see more people, particularly in the peak periods, start to return to workplaces and office spaces,’ he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘We want people wearing masks, there’s not enough people doing it, and I’m pleading with the community to do it.’
City Rail will increase their capacity on trains to 55 per cent in mid-December, while Sydney buses will jump from 38 to 45 per cent. Restrictions on ferries will also be eased.
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard warned fines could be imposed if commuters ignore directives to wear masks heading into the Christmas and New Year period.
‘I stress that because at no stage have we wanted to impose fines on people but it will become necessary if people don’t lift their game in wearing masks on public transport,’ he said.
‘We are asking you at the moment, but in the strongest possible terms.’
Opposition transport spokesman Chris Minns said Labor would support calls to mandate masks.
‘Masks are the cheapest easiest solution to keep people safe and get the economy going,’ he said.
‘Our view is that they should have been mandatory months ago.’
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance (pictured) has pleaded for commuters to wear face masks – or they maybe subject to fines
The World Health Organisation have repeatedly advocated the use of face masks for citizens around the globe.
‘Masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives,’ it reads on the WHO website.
‘Masks reduce potential exposure risk from an infected person whether they have symptoms or not. ‘People wearing masks are protected from getting infected. Masks also prevent onward transmission when worn by a person who is infected.’
‘Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all!’ approach, including: physical distancing, avoiding crowded, closed and close-contact settings, improving ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs.’
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard (pictured above) has told people to ‘lift their game’ when it comes to wearing masks on public transport
Source: Daily Mail AU