Masks have largely been used throughout the pandemic, with it being mandatory to wear a mask in most public settings.

Finally, to demonstrate some progress toward returning to our pre-pandemic norms, mask restrictions have been lifted from the first week of March (with different dates and restrictions depending on your state). Note: VIC and QLD are easing the restrictions the most compared to the others from Friday 4 March at 11.59 pm (VIC) and 6 pm (QLD).

Things to be mindful of with masks being worn less

  • Masks were a major inhibitor and contributed toward people not wanting to be at work in settings where these were required
  • More workers may head back into the offices as restrictions ease
  • Social distancing (1.5 m between persons) will become harder if everyone returns suddenly to the workplace/office

Tips from wattsnext for SMEs

  • Monitor headcount/quantity of people in each venue
  • Ensure social distancing can still be maintained (1.5 m between persons)
  • Encourage mask use where social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Consider a rotation (50% of workers in the office on one day, 50% from home)
  • Consider personal working circumstance and personal preferences – some employee may prefer to work at home and feel they contribute their best work from home (Assess reasonability on a case by case basis)
  • Consider personal health circumstances – some staff may be immunocompromised, or have other conditions which make them more vulnerable to COVID-19
  • Ensure hygienic practices e.g. cleaning surfaces regularly, hand sanitiser available, COVID-19 posters to remind staff
  • Have strong policies in place to prevent and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading throughout the workplace

Here are mask restrictions by State:



New South Wales:

Australian Capital Territory:

Northern Territory:

South Australia:


Author: Sam Lucas
Sam is an Industrial Relations (IR) and Employment Relations (ER) expert with more than 3.5 years of experience in this space in consultancy-based work. Sam brings a diversity of knowledge from this background on IR/ER matters across an extensive range of industries and is able to use this to develop straight-forward solutions, guidance, and direction for our clients.