Face masks have become the must-have accessory (literally) for Melburnians in 2020. Face coverings became a requirement in July, fitted face masks became mandatory in September, and now it looks like we’ll be wearing them into 2021.

But with dining out – an inherently mask-free activity – now back on the menu, when is it okay for you to take your mask off?

According to government guidelines, “you can take your face mask off when seated and eating or drinking”. But “when taking your face mask off, make sure you do not touch the front of the mask (remove by the sides) and keep it in a bag so it remains clean”.

Your mask must be worn at all other times, though – “including when paying for the meal, using the facilities or to step outside to take a call”.

“Eating and drinking should not be used as an excuse not to wear a face mask,” specify the guidelines. “You must use common sense and wear a face mask at all times where possible.”

When dining out, it’s also important to maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres and practice good hygiene.

Find more information on the state government’s Covid-19 hub.