Woolworths has announced that customers and staff will be “strongly encouraged” to wear masks (or other facial coverings) at Central Coast stores from next week due to the increase in coronavirus cases.

Woolworths’ statement, released yesterday, requests that staff and customers across NSW, the ACT and some Queensland areas wear face coverings at all Woolworths Group stores from Monday 3 August onwards.

Woolworths’ Group CEO Brad Banducci said, “The safety and wellbeing of our customers, teams and communities is our top priority.

“Even though wearing a face covering is not mandatory in NSW, ACT or Queensland, as the largest private sector employer with stores in almost every community, we feel it’s important we lead the way in helping reduce community transmission of COVID-19. We’re asking our teams to lead by example, and this includes our Group Executive Team”.

The Woolworths Group includes the following stores/businesses:
+ Woolworths Supermarkets
+ Woolworths Metro Food Stores
+ Dan Murphy’s
+ ALH Hotels.

This announcement comes after more than 150 cases of community-transmitted coronavirus cases have been seen across NSW in the last 2 weeks.

While face masks are now mandatory across Victoria, the NSW Government has not yet made them mandatory in NSW.

Brad Banducci said, “Masks and face coverings are a highly visible symbol of the persistence of COVID-19. By encouraging and role modelling their use, it will further support the steps we need to collectively take to stop the spread of the virus and keep our team and customers safe.”

The NSW Government is encouraging everyone to wear face masks in shops, on public transport and in places of worship

Latest health advice on masks – 2 August 2020

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant recommends wearing a mask:

  • if it is hard to maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others 
  • in areas where there has been community transmission 
  • when in high-risk indoor areas such as public transport, supermarkets, shops, churches and other places of worship  
  • when caring for or serving vulnerable people 
  • if working in a cafe, restaurant, pub, club or other high-risk indoor areas.  

While wearing a mask in any of these settings is not mandatory, it is highly recommended.

The NSW Government has said, “Single-use masks (commonly called surgical masks) and reusable cloth masks both help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, if used correctly. Properly constructed cloth masks are made from at least three layers of breathable fabric to ensure adequate protection. You will need more than one reusable mask.”

The NSW Government has provided further details on masks on their website here, including types of masks recommended, how to wear them safely and more.

Where to buy re-usable face masks on the Central Coast

If you have a Central Coast business/store that sells face masks, please email Katie at Playing in Puddles on [email protected] and we’ll include you in the below list.

NOTE: Please note that we ask you to do your own research into masks and which one to buy. We are not endorsing any of the masks outlined below. The masks outlined are not medical-grade masks and are not guaranteed to protect against COVID-19; however the NSW Government has advised that “Wearing a face mask provides an additional physical barrier and helps to reduce community transmission” and “A mask helps to contain droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and reduces the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading”.

Survival, a local Coastie-owned business that creates innovative First Aid Kits, is selling re-usable face masks and disposable ones. They’ve sold out of their reusable ones, but you can pre-order them on their website as more will be available from Tuesday 4 August. You can also arrange to pick them up from their warehouse in Erina. | Reusable masks $23.95 each.

Newcastle sewer Grit n Glitter is sewing and selling reusable face masks. | From $20.

Local sewer Jessica Twist of Berkeley Vale is selling masks through her Cappuccino Monkey Facebook page.

Mop and Dolly (a frequent of local markets) is making face masks from beautiful fabric.

Cotton On is selling re-usable face masks online (in store soon), and we’ve heard that Peter Alexander have plans to sell them soon as well.

Local sewer Theodore Pieces is sewing and selling face masks from their Facebook page.

Want to make your own face mask?

Image ©Twig and Tale

One of Playing in Puddles’ contributors, Jenny, is good with a needle and thread, and she said the patterns she found on the Twig and Tale website are the best. There are two options available – the pleated or panel version. Jenny found the panel pattern to be the easier of the two.

Stay sensible. Stay safe.