Workers concerned coronavirus is carried on littered masks

By Chantelle Fowler

Shopping centre workers are worried about cleaning up dumped used masks that could be carrying Covid-19. Photo: Chantelle Fowler

There are increasing concerns Covid-19 is spreading via disposable masks that are being dumped and littered in public places.

Doherty Immunology Professor Dale Godfrey said it was important for Victorians to understand the Covid-19 virus could be transferred via objects as well as via direct person-to-person contact.

“The virus can remain infectious for hours to days, especially in the colder weather, on objects such as doorknobs, trolleys and even face masks. Although close proximity or direct contact with a Covid-19 infected person is probably the main means by which infection spreads, it is important to understand that the virus can be spread via objects and this is a probably an important source of contracting the virus,” Prof Godfrey said.

Kmart duty manager Sarah Iellamo has noticed an influx of disposal masks littered around the car park surrounding the store she manages.

“I’ve seen numerous masks littered around Dandenong plaza. I see them on the shop floor, in the car park and find them in trolleys and baskets,” Iellamo said.

Iellamo said there were many bins located around the Dandenong plaza but many customers were not disposing of their face masks safely.

“It brings concern for not only our environment but the germs these masks carry on them,” she said.

Kmart, amongst other businesses within the Dandenong shopping centre, is ramping up cleaning methods and procedures to prevent any spread of Covid-19, however disposable masks are still being dumped.

“At Kmart, we are taking all precautions necessary by wiping down trolleys and wearing disposable gloves and masks. I have seen other stores in the centre cleaning after their customers and ensuring the 1.5 metre distance from each customer,” Iellamo said.

She urged customers to do the right thing and dispose of masks in the bins provided for the safety of other customers and employees.

“Ensure you put your masks in the bin or take it with you home. This will prevent any traces of Covid-19 being passed on to people working and visiting the centre. It’s the safe thing to do,” Iellamo said.



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