Mandating masks rapidly and dramatically increases mask use: before law 7%, after 97%

Simon Chapman AO

Following the development of a cluster of COVID-19 cases in late December 2020 in Sydney’s northern beaches region, the NSW government introduced a requirement for mandatory mask use on all public transport, retail shops, cinemas and theatres from midnight on January 2, 2012. Fines ranged from $200 for individuals, $1000 for small businesses and $5000 for corporations.

With the ebbing of cases, this requirement was narrowed a few weeks later, with masks remaining mandatory on public transport and in close-contact occupational settings like hair salons, barbers, massage parlours and nail bars.

Throughout 2020, the government had resisted extensive and often impassioned calls from many public health experts, the state political opposition and many members of the public for masks use to be mandatory in public indoor settings and public transport.

Well before masks were mandated, on July 28, 2020 I spent 90 minutes on the platform of my local railway…

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