Public transport mask dodgers cop fines

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More than 100 fines have been issued on Victorian public transport and in excess of 181,000 warnings issued in less than a month as part of a COVID-19 mask compliance crackdown.

Under Victoria's pandemic orders, public transport passengers must wear a fitted face mask covering their nose and mouth unless they have a valid exemption.

The penalty for not wearing a mask is a $100.

"Our focus remains on educating Victorians rather than handing out fines, which is why we've given out almost 160,000 masks to passengers on public transport," a government spokesperson said.

"Public transport operators are continuing to ensure mask compliance and additional masks have been made available to customers travelling on our public transport network."

Recorded announcements reminding passengers to use a mask have been in place since December 2020.

There were 1129 new COVID-19 cases and 170 hospitalisations in Victoria on Sunday.

On Sunday, Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said while COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations had dropped, people should remain vigilant.

"It's clear we're in the 'trough' part of COVID-19 activity now, with fewer cases and hospitalisations than we've seen for months," Professor Sutton tweeted.

"That's very welcome, of course. It may also be that the coming wave is lower and slower than the waves we've seen in 2022, for different reasons."

He said new variants were causing concern in immunological circles because of immunity evasion and there may be another peak closer to the end of the year.

"There's a legitimate debate about what potential impact protections have and what's reasonable to take up or prioritise," Prof Sutton wrote.

But 50 deaths nationally a day and long COVID growing as a burden of illness meant "we need to focus on doing everything reasonable to address this", he added.

National cabinet recently agreed to scrap mask mandates for domestic flights amid falling COVID-19 case numbers.

The Victorian government also lifted its work from home recommendation at the end of winter.

Meanwhile, Victoria's dining and entertainment cashback scheme resumed on Monday.

The $25 million program allows participants to claim a 25 per cent rebate of up to $125 on eating out and a range of entertainment activities, with a minimum spend of $40.

The scheme is available on a first come, first serve basis and ends on December 16.