25 Jun 2021

Covid-19: Prime Minister pushes back against mandatory mask use

From Morning Report, 7:20 am on 25 June 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is encouraging Wellingtonians to wear a mask, but won't be requiring it, as the city hopes to stave off community transmission of Covid-19.

A person who later tested positive for Covid-19 in Sydney had a tourist trip to the capital over the weekend, prompting a massive response from health authorities.

Ardern said expanding the guidelines for mandatory mask would be too prescriptive.

"Putting out guidance that is so prescriptive that it becomes hard to understand, it's much easier for just us to say, we encourage you to wear a mask," she told Morning Report.

Ardern also pushed back against the idea of making QR code scanning mandatory.

"The same issues keep coming back, it's always about enforcement, and particularly for businesses.

"It would require someone to ask people not to enter until they had scanned, and for some businesses, it may be counterintuitive for them to say 'you cannot enter into my business or engage in business without scanning a QR code'.

"It would result in them having to turn people away."