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Superseded - Public Health Face Mask Requirements Direction

This direction has been superseded on 18 December 2021. See the current Public Health Face Mask Requirements Direction (No. 6).


Effective from: 1am AEST 18 December 2021

Posted: 18 December 2021

Superseded on: 18 December 2021

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 26 March 2022 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr John Gerrard, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following direction pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.


This direction applies to require people in any part of Queensland to a wear face mask in particular circumstances. This direction operates in conjunction with and does not override the Mandatory Face Masks Direction (No.2) or its successor.


  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Public Health Face Mask Requirements Direction.

Commencement and application

  1. This Direction applies from 1.00am AEST on 18 December 2021 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless this Direction is earlier revoked or replaced.

  2. To the extent of any inconsistency between this Direction and the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 24), Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 11), or their successors, or another public health direction made under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005, this Direction prevails.


  1. Unless an exemption applies to them, a person must wear a face mask covering the person’s nose and mouth at all times when:

    1. the person is in an indoor space that is a retail shop; or

    2. the person is in an indoor space that is a residential aged care facility, shared disability accommodation service, a hospital or other healthcare setting, a corrective services facility or detention centre; or

    3. if the person is on public transport infrastructure or at public transport infrastructure; or

      Example – when on a train or waiting at a train platform, or on a ferry.

    4. is in a commercial passenger vehicle, as a driver or passenger, or waiting for a commercial passenger vehicle in a designated outdoor space that is not a residence; or

      Example – waiting for a taxi at a taxi rank, waiting for a rideshare at a designated pick-up area.

      Note – a driver of a commercial passenger vehicle must wear a mask.

    5. has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19; or

    6. is required to do so in accordance with any other Public Health Directions in effect under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005; or

      Example – under the Mandatory Face Masks Direction (No. 2) or its successors, a person must wear a face mask at all times while on a domestic commercial aircraft flying in Queensland airspace.

    7. is directed to do so by an emergency officer (public health).

  1. A person who removes their face mask under an exemption under this Direction must resume wearing the face mask as soon as practicable after the circumstances of the exemption ends.

    Example – a person must resume wearing a face mask as soon as they finish eating, broadcasting or receiving medical care.

    Note – For further information on the use of face masks, please refer to the Queensland Health website as updated from time to time:


  1. A person is exempt from the requirement to wear a face mask under paragraph 4 if the person:

    1. is an infant or child under 12 years; or

    2. is consuming food, drink or medicine; or

    3. is a person who has a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, which makes wearing a face mask unsuitable; or

      Examples – persons who have obstructed breathing, a serious skin condition on their face, an intellectual disability, a mental health illness, or who have experienced trauma.

    4. is a person communicating with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication; or

      Note – a face shield should be used instead.

    5. is undertaking work or education for which clear enunciation or visibility of the mouth is essential; or

      Example – a speech therapist in a hospital or healthcare setting.

    6. is undergoing dental or medical care or treatment to the extent that such care or treatment requires that no face mask be worn; or

      Example – a doctor or other clinician in a hospital or healthcare setting determines that a treatment requires that no face mask be worn by the patient based on the nature of the treatment and the impacts on the patient’s health and wellbeing.

    7. is providing or receiving a service from a business, activity or undertaking which is permitted to operate under, and is operating in accordance with, the Public Health and Social Measures linked to vaccination Direction (No.2) or its successor, to the extent that it is not reasonably practicable to provide or receive that service wearing a face mask; or

      Example – a person receiving facial beauty treatment in a retail shop does not need to wear a mask while having the treatment

    8. is asked to remove the face mask to ascertain the person’s identity; or

      Examples – a person may be asked by police, security, or airport staff to remove a face mask to ascertain identity or when purchasing alcohol or cigarettes.

    9. for whom wearing a face mask would create any other serious risk to that person’s life or health and safety, including if determined through work Occupational Health and Safety guidelines; or

      Examples – a person who is undertaking work where a mask could become tangled in machinery.

    10. is a resident of a residential aged care facility or a shared disability accommodation service, subject to any policies or requirements of a facility or service; or

    11. is a prisoner in a corrective services facility or a detainee in a detention centre, subject to any policies or requirements of that facility or centre; or

    12. for emergency purposes; or

      Examples – a person escaping a fire or a risk of harm related to domestic and family violence or sexual violence.

    13. if required or authorised by law; or

    14. if doing so is not safe in all the circumstances.

  1. The Chief Health Officer, Deputy Chief Health Officer or their delegate may give a person or class of persons an exemption from a requirement of this Direction if extreme exceptional circumstances exist.

  2. An exemption may be given on conditions and, if so, the person given the exemption must comply with the conditions.


Definitions used in this Direction are in Schedule 1.


A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

Failure to comply with public health directions

  • A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.

  • Maximum penalty—100 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

Dr John Gerrard
Chief Health Officer

18 Dec 2021

Published on the Queensland Health website at 1:00am


For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:

Commercial passenger vehicle means a taxi, rideshare or commercial shuttle service.

Corrective services facility has the same meaning as in the Corrective Services Act 2006.

Detention centre has the same meaning as in the Youth Justice Act 1992.

Face mask means a flat surgical mask, P2/N95 mask or a cloth mask with three layers that covers the nose and mouth (but does not include a face shield).

Example – a scarf or bandana is not a face mask.

Hospital means:

  1. a hospital, as defined in schedule 2 to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011; or

  2. a private health facility, as defined in section 8 of the Private Health Facilities Act 1999; or

  3. a multi-purpose service, as defined in section 104 of the Subsidy Principles 2014 made under section 96-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).

Indoor space means an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are:

  1. permanent or temporary; or

  2. open or closed.

Outdoor space means a space that is not an indoor space.

Premises has the same meaning as in Schedule 2 of the Public Health Act 2005, and also includes land and vessels.

Public transport infrastructure has the same meaning as in the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994.

Residence means premises used, or intended to be used, as a dwelling or mainly as a dwelling, and includes the land on which the residence is situated, and includes:

  1. a single detached dwelling;

  2. each of one or more attached dwellings that are separated by a common wall;

    Examples for paragraph (b) — villa unit, townhouse, terrace house, row house, unit in an apartment block.

  3. a manufactured home as defined in section 10 of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003;

  4. a caravan as defined in section 7 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008;

  5. any other building or structure situated on the same land as the premises or dwelling.

    Examples for paragraph (e) – shed, pool house, carport, granny flat.

Residence does not include a residential aged care facility, corrective services facility or detention centre.

Residential aged care facility means a facility at which accommodation, and personal care or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth.

Resident of a facility means a person who ordinarily or temporarily resides at the facility.

Retail shop means a retail shop as defined by the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 and Retail Shop Leases Regulation 2016 (the Regulation), excluding dine in retailing as defined in the Regulation, and excluding hospitality venues listed in Schedule 1A of the Public Health and Social Measures linked to Vaccination Status Direction (No.2).

Shared disability accommodation service means a service, including the forensic disability service under the Forensic Disability Act 2011, where:

  1. four or more people with disability reside with people who are not members of their family; and

  2. the residents share enclosed common living areas within the facility whether inside or outside, and

  3. the residents are provided with disability supports within the facility.

Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 means fever or history of fever, symptoms of acute respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat), headache, loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

Last updated: 20 December 2021