Coronavirus Victoria: 'Massive' queues at stores after face mask announcement

Long lines outside pharmacies and sewing supply stores have been spotted ahead of a mandatory face mask rule set to be introduced in Victoria.

Images shared on social media show people lining up outside shops like Chemist Warehouse and Spotlight.

A photo apparently taken inside a Chemist Warehouse in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s north, shows people lining up down the aisle, reportedly to purchase face masks.

The long queues followed Sunday’s announcement that masks are to be worn in public from Thursday in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.

Lines were seen outside both Chemist Warehouse and Spotlight after Victoria's face mask announcement.
Lines were seen outside both Chemist Warehouse and Spotlight after Premier Daniel Andrews made face masks mandatory in Melbourne. Source: Facebook - Christine Matuszewski/Twitter - @Kathblue

One Melbourne man tweeted about a “massive queue outside Chemist Warehouse”.

“At least half with masks on, social distanced, and presumably getting masks just hours after mandatory masking in Victoria announced even though doesn't kick in for another 3 days,” he said.

Another person tweeted: “Great idea in Melbourne. Send loads of panicked people into cramped Chemist Warehouse stores to buy masks.

“Perfect conditions to spread the virus.”

Lines weren’t just seen at Chemist Warehouse, people were also lining up at Spotlight reportedly to get material to make their own face masks.

Herald Sun journalist Brooke Grebert-Craig said people spent up to 30 minutes queuing outside the Spotlight store in Springvale, in Melbourne’s southeast, and it wasn’t just material people were seeking.

“Sewing machines almost gone. Everyone buying fabric to make their own masks after mandatory rules set for residents in Melbourne lockdown areas,” she tweeted.

Another woman shared a photo to Twitter her friend sent her showing people lining up outside another Spotlight in Melbourne.

“We all asked her why couldn’t she buy online? She goes, ‘Oh I have to see it in person to see if I like it’,” the woman said on Twitter.

“FFS (for f***’s sake), this is part of the problem. It’s a mask, and material will work. STAY AT HOME!”

If residents in Melbourne or the Mitchell Shire do not wear a mask when leaving the house from 11.59pm (local time) on Wednesday, they could cop a $200 fine from police.

If there isn’t widespread compliance and community transmission rates continue to rise, more restrictions could be imposed.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Sunday people don’t need to have a surgical face mask. It could be any sort of face covering, such as a scarf or bandana.

Many people on Twitter were being helpful and pointed out where people could purchase masks and how to use them.

“Melburnians, Chemist Warehouse has a pack of 50 surgical masks for $40 available for delivery to your home,” one person tweeted.

“Please remember to change them every four hours. Wash your hands before and after putting it on. Do NOT touch it when you're wearing it.”

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