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'Absolute nonsense': New face mask rule sparks mass confusion

There has been confusion and criticism directed towards a mask rule introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus in Queensland.

Greater Brisbane went into a three-day lockdown on Friday evening amid concerns about the spread of a mutant strain of Covid-19 from the UK which is more infectious.

The health department has told people to wear masks should they need to leave the home to do essential shopping, for medical reasons or to provide care, legal reasons or for work.

A driver wears a mask in his car in Brisbane, Australia.
A driver wears a mask in Brisbane on Saturday during lockdown. Source: Getty Images

But one rule has raised a number of eyebrows after Queensland Health clarified it following a barrage of questions.

“We've been getting this question a lot,” the health department wrote on Facebook.

“The answer is yes. We're asking you to wear a mask in the car because a consistent approach helps keep people safe. We want you to wear a mask when you leave home – by whatever means, for whatever reason. Walk, drive or cycle – put a mask on when you leave home and keep it on, unless you're taking it off for an allowed purpose.”

The health department said the reasoning for this is to get people into the habit of putting a mask on when leaving the house as they will be “more likely to keep it on”.

People criticise ‘absolute nonsense’ rule

One man called the rule “rubbish” while others suggested it was “ridiculous”, “a joke” and “the dumbest idea ever”.

“No wonder people don't believe in the system. This is absolute nonsense,” one woman wrote.

Another woman said she couldn’t comprehend the rule.

“I can understand that I'd wear a mask when leaving work or other 'public' place but keeping it on if alone in a car is much harder to understand,” she wrote.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters on Saturday police will hand out masks to people who don’t have one.

He added police want to educate people on the importance of wearing them before handing out $200 fines.

The lockdown will end Monday evening.

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