VICTORIA' chief health officer Brett Sutton has reiterated widespread face mask usage is a significant driver in lowering COVID-19 transmission rates - partly in just keeping others to steer further away from the wearer.
The advice comes as East Grampians Health Service stepped up its mask requirements making them a necessity for visitors.
From Tuesday EGHS will make mask wearing mandatory but will provide single use masks when entering the health service if visitors do not have their own.
Dr Sutton also gave face masks the "thumbs up" on Monday, recommending it for anyone in lockdown areas and the most at-risk people in regional Victoria to cover up, especially in places when it was harder to keep social distancing.
He said new Lancet meta-analysis has changed the state's initial view on masks.
"...With all the imperfections about how people understand them - wearing them over their mouth and not their nose, or not tightly enough against their face - with all of those imperfections in behaviours, it still limits transmission quite significantly," Dr Sutton said.
WATCH BELOW: Recommendations for wearing a cloth face mask with chief health officer Brett Sutton
UFS chief pharmacist Peter Fell said social distancing was still best practice for preventing transmission but what was becoming more realised was the measurable benefits a mask could do to help, particularly anyone with respiratory problems or who were immunosuppressant.
"If you are, we prefer if you don't get into situations where you might be exposed, but if you have to go out, a mask was extra protection," Mr Fell said.
The health department is yet to provide clear detail on the types of appropriate masks, but Mr Fell said these could last a few hours or at least until damp. He said paper, surgical masks could also be re-used if taken off and kept in a zip-lock bag, washing your hands as you do so, but wearing masks atop the head between uses rendered them useless.
UFS Pharmacies' staff have all been encouraged to "mask-up" if they feel uncomfortable or at-risk of a lack of social distancing.
Mr Fell cautioned against homemade masks if not made of the right density.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.