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Australia Do you have a right to not wear a mask?

02:06  28 july  2020
02:06  28 july  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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Nor do these masks form a snug seal around the face. The CDC recommends surgical masks only Some believe that wearing a mask reduces how many times they touch their nose and mouth, “but Is there some information that others have that I don’t have , whether it’s prevalence in the local

“ Wearing a mask is tricky because it can create a false sense of security,” Dr. Perencevich said. “If you don’t wash your hands before you take off the mask So you shouldn’t be buying masks , but there are things you can do to prepare for an outbreak in your city. First, make sure you have at least 3-4

a man wearing glasses and a suit and tie: The Premier, Daniel Andrews (pictured), and?? Professor?? Brett Sutton,?? Victoria's?? Chief Health Officer ?? COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic media conference. 27th July 2020 The Age News Picture by JOE ARMAO © JOE ARMAO/The Age The Premier, Daniel Andrews (pictured), and?? Professor?? Brett Sutton,?? Victoria's?? Chief Health Officer ?? COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic media conference. 27th July 2020 The Age News Picture by JOE ARMAO

A woman not wearing a mask approaches a staff member greeting customers at a suburban Bunnings. The staff member asks the woman if she has a mask, which she says she does not. She is asked to speak with a manager. She says the store is discriminating against her. She says she can personally sue the two staff members who are calmly stating the store's policy: you can't shop at Bunnings if you're not wearing a face mask.

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Some domestic airlines began requiring a mask on May 1, 2020, with the last major airlines adopting the policy on May 11, 2020. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. You can wear the same mask as you do in public shopping areas, but the airline may provide a single-use mask if you

We do not allow blog hosting of images ("blogspam"), but links Because them not wearing a mask would have killed everyone on the plane because they’d pass out. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask , you should stay home because COVID 19 will kill you .

At the outset of the pandemic, the government declared a state of emergency. It invoked section 198 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and conferred on Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton emergency powers to make directions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he or his delegates saw fit. The powers, still in effect, are broad and include restrictions on movement and, now, compulsory masks in public.

There is no doubt these directions are unprecedented and severe, a fact the Health Department does not shy away from - and they have rubbed some Victorians the wrong way. There have been suggestions the directions are impinging on people's rights and that police have been unreasonably empowered to carry out the rules.

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WHO advises people who wish to wear a mask to place the mask “carefully to cover mouth and nose and tie securely to minimise any gaps between When removing the face mask , WHO recommends that people “ do not touch the front but remove the lace from behind.” Worldwide, 89,197 people have

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or are confirmed to have the disease, you will also need to wear a mask when other people are in the same Bruce Thompson, dean of health at Swinburne University, said the Federal Government was right to discourage healthy people from wearing face masks

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Some of the same people have gone so far as to contest the validity of the laws directly with retail workers or law enforcement who are attempting to apply them.

So where does the government draw its power from? Can police ask for identification and detain people for breaches of government directions? When did the government pass these laws that have such broad powers? And do Victorians have legally enforceable civil rights that are being compromised?

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Where does the authority come from to make these directions?

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency in Victoria, starting at midday on March 16, to provide Sutton, and his authorised officers, with broad powers to enforce the 14-day isolation that was the initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since then Victoria has been in a continuous state of emergency, with the emergency powers extended by Mikakos on an as-needed basis. The powers under the Act reflect measures health authorities purportedly needed to ???flatten the curve'.

The powers are broad. Under the Act, sections 200(1)(b) and (d) stipulate that health department officials can restrict movement or "give any other direction that the authorised officer considers is reasonably necessary to protect public health" - authorised officers being Sutton or his delegates.

As such, under section 200, various health officials have enacted what they have termed Stay at Home Directions, the most recent of which was issued by Dr Finn Romanes on July 22 and which contained the requirement under subsection 5 to wear a mask when leaving the house for one of the four lawful reasons (that is, to go shopping for necessities, to exercise, for compassionate reasons and care or for essential work).

Stay at Home Directions are legally enforceable under section 193 of the Public Health Act. If someone refuses to comply with a direction, without a reasonable excuse, they could be fined up to $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses. Failing to comply with the rules around face coverings may result in a fine of $200.

In other words, if the health department thinks a particular direction is likely to lessen the spread of COVID-19, thereby protecting public health, they can mandate it, as long as it is "reasonable". What counts as reasonable various from person to person, and depends on your values. It's here that debates about human and civil rights come into play.

Who has to wear a mask?

Under the Stay at Home Directions issued by Romanes, a person may only leave their house if they are wearing a face covering at all times unless an exception applies.

There are many exceptions that include strenuous exercise, being a child under 12, possessing a physical or mental illness that makes wearing a mask unsuitable and eating or drinking. A person can also be asked to remove their mask if they need to provide identification, if, say, they're buying alcohol.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said he wasn't convinced by the argument that wearing a mask impinged on people's "civil rights".

"The idea it [wearing a mask] is an imposition on someone's freedom or individual rights, I'm not sure I can be convinced of that," Coatsworth said.

"That sort of behaviour has to stop. I acknowledge wearing a mask can be difficult and it takes some time to get used to but, in all seriousness, it is just having a mask on."

What are police allowed to do?

Under the Public Health Act, Sutton or one of his delegates has put in a request to the Chief Commissioner of Police for police help in enforcing the health directions.

In normal circumstances, police can only ask you to provide your name and address if they believe you have committed an offence or are about to commit an offence. Under the Public Health Act, police can require a person to provide their name and address for the purpose of investigating, eliminating or reducing the risk to public health.

Similarly, police can usually place you under arrest only if they believe you have committed an offence or are about to commit an offence. But under the Public Health Act, a person can be detained if they present a "serious risk to public health". The Public Health Act says that this is a high bar, and is only enacted when there is a "material risk that substantial injury or prejudice to the health of human beings has or may occur".

The Public Health Act also states that before exercising an emergency power, unless it is not practicable to do so, a person must be warned that a refusal or failure to comply without a reasonable excuse, is an offence.

As usual, people being interviewed by police still have the right to remain silent, as with any other criminal wrongdoing.

Victoria Police released a statement on July 26 reaffirming their intention to fine those with "blatant" disregard for quarantine rules.

"Whilst police will use discretion in the first seven days since the [Chief Health Officer's] direction was issued, we will not hesitate to issue fines to people who are obviously and blatantly showing a disregard for community safety by failing to wear a mask," the statement said.

It said people who did not wear a mask, and did not have a valid excuse would risk being fined.

"Police are working incredibly hard to keep the community safe and this type of behaviour is unacceptable and unnecessary."

Do you have a right not to wear a mask?

The video depicting the woman at Bunnings brought to the surface the anxiety among some Victorians that the requirement to wear face mask was a violation of their rights.

Australia does not have a bill of rights. Although we are a signatory to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - contrary to the claims made by the woman in the video - it does not create individual rights that are enforceable.

Andrews dismissed the behaviour in the videos as "a selfish choice". He said that although police did have the power to issue $200 fines, "it should never ever come to that".

"They are trying to be as fair as they possibly can be," he said, "but if you're just making a selfish choice based on your belief, your personal belief, quoting something you've read on some website, it's not about human rights."

Victorians do have certain rights, though, under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act. When the government wants to pass legislation that it suspects could conflict with human rights, it is required by law to publish a statement of "compatibility with the Charter" and explain how its legislation might abrogate the rights of Victorians.

When passing legislation, the government carries out a balancing exercise. Although there is a presumption that the Charter should be upheld as much as possible, it is acceptable, in Australia, to subjugate certain rights and freedoms in order to preserve others. The process, called ???proportionality testing,' means, for example, that the government will balance the desire to not wear masks against the risks - illness and death - associated with the continued spread of the coronavirus.

Several people who have confronted police have used terminology associated with the 'sovereign citizen' movement. They claim to be subject only to their particular interpretations of common law, and say government statutes or proceedings do not apply to them. As such, they say police are not acting lawfully, because they do not recognise the laws police are empowered under.

There are no rights enshrined in Australian law that will allow you to not wear a mask. Unless you qualify for an exemption, prepare to pay a fine.


Video: Police issue more than 100 fines in a day as Victorians 'blatantly' flout rules (Sky News Australia)

Four coronavirus cases, including baby, in Wagga Wagga but authorities say risk to community low .
Four people, including a baby, are diagnosed with coronavirus in Wagga Wagga but authorities are confident the risk to the community is low.They are all from the same family and have been in self-isolation since returning from Victoria.

usr: 3
This is interesting!