what if a customer is not wearing a mask

What is the law?

The Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order (No 3) 2021) mandates customers to wear fitted face coverings at all times when they are in an indoor non-residential premises in Greater Sydney, retail premises, or business premises, that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises.

As a private enterprise you can refuse entry to a customer for a range of reasons such as dress code, behaviour, legal requirement and safety reasons, including for not wearing a mask. However, you must ensure that the refusal is not for discriminatory reasons. It is important that the refusal for non-mask wearers is not arbitrary and applies consistently to everyone.

When does a face mask not have to be worn?

  • for persons aged 12 years or under;
  • for person with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability. For example, a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma;
  • eating or drinking;
  • communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing;
  • the person is at work and the nature of wearing of a fitted face covering is a risk to the person’s health and safety;
  • identification purposes;
  • emergencies; and
  • the removal of the fitted face covering is necessary for the proper provision of the goods or services

What if the customer won’t wear a mask or carries an exemption?

It is important that you present clear and adequate signage at the entrance and around the premises advising customers on the mandatory mask requirements, indicating that no mask will equal no entry. Upon denying entry, it is important that you inform the patron that they are unable to enter to be served inside due to occupational health and safety requirements, including social distancing and to maintain the safety of staff and customers. You may wish to suggest that you could serve them outside and bring out their order when ready, that they could use an online delivery platform such as Uber Eats to place their order or use your Covid safe pick-up option. Where you have refused entry to a customer not wearing a mask and they still seek to be served inside, it is imperative that you reiterate you are still able to serve them, however not inside due to safety reasons for the protection of your staff and other customers, as well as complying with the current Covid-19 Mandatory Face Coverings Order.

It is important to stay on top of your responsibilities as a business owner during this period of uncertainty and ongoing Government restrictions and public orders.

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The articles on this website comprise legal general information and not legal advice. The general information presented here must not be relied upon without legal advice being sought. In the event that you wish to obtain legal advice on the contents of this general information you may do so by contacting our office or your existing solicitor.