Addressing The Legality of Face Masks

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens throughout Australia have legally been required to wear a face mask at one stage or another. While the large majority of people comply, there are many people – mostly online – who spread myths and conspiracy theories about the effectiveness of a face mask in preventing the spread of Coronavirus.

Even though many health care professionals have strongly advocated the importance of wearing a medical face mask, the myths still float around. As Biomed is a leading supplier of health masks and is Australia’s best supplier of medical-grade textiles, we wanted to bust some of the myths concerning the legality and effectiveness of the face mask, so you have ultimate peace of mind.

Do Masks Infringe on Constitutional Freedoms and Human Rights?

Some people have claimed that the mask requirement is unlawful to their human rights and a breach of their constitutional freedoms.

According to the Public Health and Wellbeing Acts – which are set independently by each state and territory in Australia – is the legal power that allows governments to issue public health orders during a public health emergency as they see fit. So snap orders like wearing a face mask, border closures and social distancing orders, is entirely legal in Australia.

Such emergency powers can detain any person or group who refuses such orders, as they are considered a severe risk to public health according to section 200 of the Act. This law is where the power of mandatory hotel quarantine detention comes from.

“Australia is indeed a signatory to a several conventions that impose broad obligations around human rights and anti-discrimination, to name a couple. But do they give you a right not to wear a face mask — or a right not to be treated differently or refused entry to a business if you refuse to wear one? No.” says Professor Sarre in his article published on the ABC.

According to Australia’s Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Act, wearing a face mask does not break this law. As in most cases, the right to be discriminated against on the basis of what you’re wearing – a face mask – does not exist.

In comparison to America, Australia does not have an explicit right to freedom of speech in our constitution. So, no-one can refuse to wear a face mask with the excuse of breaching “their freedom of speech”, because wearing a face mask is a public health order. Although, the government has provided exceptions to mandatory masks, including for children under 12, specific medical conditions, a professional reason or if in some activities such as running.

Can Businesses Legally Refuse Entry for Maskless Customers?

Absolutely! The bottom line is that store owners have an obligation to ensure their private property is as safe as possible for customers and staff. This becomes a little complicated in Covid-19 times. Still, in order to keep their private property safe, businesses are entitled to do whatever it is that will safeguard their patrons and staff effectively, hence the mandatory wearing of a medical mask.

Businesses are entitled to set any reasonable conditions on entry into their premises; businesses have been refusing customer entry for a range of reasons for a long time. For example, women have to wear heels into certain night clubs, and customers can not wear bike helmets into banks.

Are Other Face Coverings More Effective than Face Masks?

It is important to note that not all coverings are effective such as scarfs, bandanas and face shields.

A face mask and a face shield are two very different things; a shield protects the wearer’s eyes which is an area germs get into even when wearing a face mask. Hence, face shields are not adequate by themselves as they do not seal entirely around your face; healthcare workers recommended wearing both a face mask and shield at the same time.

In general, the best option for a face covering is a medical mask. Medical face masks provide a physical barrier to block germs coming into your body through your mouth and nose, while also preventing any germs from spreading from your body to others.

At Biomed, we proudly hold one of Australia’s best medical grade textile ranges for reusable face masks. Our complex and sensitive fabric combinations have anti-bacterial properties, and our designs provide maximum comfort and versatility, perfect for any age to wear comfortably.

Most importantly, at Biomed, we understand many workers must wear face masks for long hours on their shift. This is why we have highly tested and engineered our masks for superior quality and comfort. As a result, our masks are latex-free, allergen-free, anti-bacterial, breathable, stretchy and durable for maximum ease and reliability throughout the workday.

Our range of face masks fabrics are available in a variety of sizes, layers and specifications. Biomed can assist any customer with custom designs such as logos. We offer five reusable medical masks which suit different price ranges and different usages;

  • Bioshield-05
  • 5-layer face mask
  • 7-layer face mask
  • Anti-bacterial face mask
  • 3-layer face mask

Stay Safe with BioMed

Biomed’s mission is to create high-quality medical textiles, which is why we ensure that our business operations always align with our ISO 9001 certification for quality management. Our dedication to strict Australian standards demonstrates the reliability of our products and our commitment to providing our customers with superior products that offer a high level of comfort through the minimisation of skin irritations, alongside anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties for safety and comfort.

Through the prevention of germs and bacteria, the life of medical products such as CPAP masks can be prolonged, as the build-up of bacteria and germs can cause fabric that is not of a medical-grade to deteriorate over time and become unsanitary and uncomfortable to wear.

At Biomed, we have a longstanding partnership with ResMed to supply medical grade fabrics for their products, which have offered superior patient comfort for decades. To find out more information on our full range of medical-grade fabrics, please contact our team of Biomed medical fabrics and materials experts on (02) 9758 3855.