Businesses should not refuse service to patrons who may have a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask at venues that require mandatory face masks.


Exceptions for not wearing a face mask

Lawful excuses or exceptions for not wearing a face mask

A face mask is not required to be worn in some circumstances including for:

  • Infants and children under the age of 12 years.
  • Students at primary school or after school hours care at a primary school.
  • Persons who have a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face covering unsuitable, including persons with obstructed breathing, a serious skin condition of the face, an intellectual disability, a mental health condition or persons who have experienced trauma.
  • The person is at a premises that is their ordinary place of residence or their temporary place of residence.
  • The person is visiting a person with whom they are in an intimate personal relationship with.
  • Persons communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing and visibility of the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that wearing a face mask creates a risk to health and safety.
  • Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or broadcasting.
  • The person is working by themselves in an enclosed indoor space such as an office unless and until another person enters that space.
  • The person is working by themselves in an outdoor space, provided no other person is also in the outdoor space (except a person who ordinarily resides at the same premises with them).
  • When asked to remove the face mask to ascertain identity. For instance, where asked by police, security, bank or post office staff to remove a face mask to ascertain identity.
  • The person is one of two persons being married while in the process of being married.
  • The person is a professional sportsperson when training or competing.
  • Persons who are engaged in any strenuous physical exercise such as running, jogging, swimming or cycling.
  • The person is riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
  • The person is undergoing dental or medical care or treatment to the extent that such care or treatment requires no face mask be worn.
  • The person is smoking or vaping (including e-cigarettes) while stationary.
  • The person is consuming food, drink or medicine.
  • Persons receiving or providing a service from a facility which is permitted to operate under the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), to the extent that it is not reasonably practicable to receive or provide that service while wearing a face mask (for example, beard trimmings)
  • If required or authorised by law.
  • The person is travelling in a vehicle by themselves or with members of their household.
  • The person is a prisoner in a prison, subject to any policies of that prison.
  • The person is detained in a remand centre, youth residential centre or youth justice centre, subject to any policies of that centre.
  • The person is escaping harm or the risk of harm, including harm relating to family violence or violence of another person.
  • For emergency purposes.
  • Where not doing so is not safe in all the circumstances.


Some people who have past experiences of trauma are unable to wear a face mask due to psychological impacts. This is a lawful reason not to wear a face mask. You do not need to carry or produce evidence proving that you are eligible for this exception.