Face Masks Required for Australian Fast Food Workers

t has been a week since Melbourne re-entered lockdown to battle a second wave of COVID-19. While many retailers and restaurants in the city have been forced to close their doors once again, those that remain open do so at their own risk.

Since March, retailers across the country have asked shoppers to maintain physical distance, wash and sanitise their hands prior to entering the store, while upping their own sanitation practices and limiting the number of shoppers at any one time. With COVID-19 showing no signs of abating, many employers are looking to take further precautions, including a requirement to wear face masks, to protect both staff and customers.

McDonald’s has now announced that all of its employees in the Melbourne metropolitan and Mitchell Shire areas are now required to wear face masks at work.

“In line with the recommendation from the Victorian Government, and out of an abundance of caution, we now require employees to wear face masks during any shift at our restaurants in the Melbourne metropolitan and Mitchell Shire areas,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said.

“We are providing employees with three-ply surgical masks, as to not affect the supply of N95 masks, used in hospitals.”

KFC also choose to make face masks mandatory for team members in these areas.

“It’s a challenging time for us all, and we’ll keep monitoring and following updates and guidelines from all government health departments,” a KFC spokesperson said.

“Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for staff, so far as is reasonably practicable. If an employer considers face masks necessary to protect workers, they can lawfully direct employees to wear them,” explained Georgie Chapman, partner at HR Legal.

If an employer directs employees to wear a face mask, employers may be obligated to provide, pay for, or reimburse employees for the costs of face masks. They are also required to provide instructions to staff on how to properly wear and remove a face mask.