COVERED: Colourful face masks.
COVERED: Colourful face masks.

Masks on the march north, whether we’re ready or not

NORTHERN Rivers residents appear receptive to the idea of wearing a mask in public ahead of any mandatory order that may or may not come, in the coming weeks.

Woolies and its subsidiary stores in NSW and the ACT have jumped the gun and are actively encouraging their customers to don face mask in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, staff at a French restaurant in Ballina, Che Bon, began wearing face masks while serving customers last week.

Co-owners chef Rodolphe Ferreol and partner Pascale Moreau said it felt like "we are doing out part".

"Considering what is happening everywhere, and being French, we know what's happening in Europe, where everyone is wearing masks these days," he said.

"We thought we could not do a lot, but this is the one thing we can do to help out."

We asked whether The Northern Star's Facebook audience would wear face masks ahead of any public order by the NSW Government.

"I struggle to breathe the best of times, and wearing a mask makes it worse, but if we have to do it, we do," Jodie Davis said.

Meanwhile, Carly Atkinson said: "I have cystic fibrosis and masks aren't comfortable for me to breathe in but it's better than the alternate. People just need to suck it up to get the country through this."

In addition, plenty of people left comments about Che Bon's move to get staff to don protective masks.

"Would not bother me. Be glad to know they don't want to risk catching anything in case someone is infected," Dan Jones said.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said wearing masks in store would help keep the community safe.

The stores included under this umbrella includes Woolworths supermarkets, Woolworths Metro Food Stores, BIG W, Dan Murphys, BWS and ALH Hotels.

'The safety and wellbeing of our customers, teams and communities is our top priority,' Mr Banducci said.

The union representing shop assistants, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association has welcomed the move.

"The recommendation follows calls from the SDA for wearing of masks to protect the health and safety of retail workers, shoppers and the general community.

"It is also in line with recommendations from health authorities. It should be adopted by other

retailers operating in NSW."

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