Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mildura face mask sales take off

SUNRAYSIA is warming to the idea of wearing face masks, with one retailer reporting a surge in sales even before Thursday's announcement coverings were set to become mandatory in regional Victoria.

Chemist Warehouse Mildura managing partner Eric Oguzkaya said on Wednesday there had been a "dramatic increase" in mask sales locally.

"We're very fortunate that the supplier that we've got had plenty of stock, so we were getting daily deliveries into Mildura from Melbourne and we've had no issues with the supply," he said.

"It's been unbelievable, the amount of masks we've sold across our three stores has been amazing."

Mr Oguzkaya said the benefits of wearing a mask extended beyond reducing the spread of COVID-19 and would slow the spread of other viruses such as flu.

He said staff at the Mildura stores were now wearing face masks, already a requirement for Victorian health professionals.

Mr Oguzkaya said while communicating with patients could be a little harder with masks on, staff were adapting.

"It's a changing landscape and it takes a little while to adjust, but it's what we need to do to help the community so it's something we'll definitely be doing," he said.

While residents are able to make their own face covering at home, care was recommended if this approach was being taken.

Mr Oguzkaya said there were benefits to disposable masks.

"If the mask is doing its job it will capture the virus on the outside," he said.

"If you're touching that and you're using a scarf or different face covering, then that virus that sits on the outside of the mask is getting on your hand and therefore potentially spreading it that way.

"Disposable masks where you can safely remove them -- obviously hand-sanitising before and after -- will limit the spread of it much more than trying to use a reusable mask."

Mr Oguzkaya also recommended spending a few minutes learning the right way to hold, put on and dispose of a mask.

He said the push to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic was all about minimising risk.

"If one person is wearing a mask, you're decreasing the transmission to a lower risk," he said.

"If there's two people wearing a mask, it's even lower, and if you've got two people wearing a mask and staying 1.5 (metres apart) then there's near-zero chance of any transmission."