Free masks for Sydney’s vulnerable communities

More than 20,000 face masks are being distributed to some of Sydney’s most vulnerable communities in a move the City of Sydney hopes will help minimise further outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus.

In what is believed to be a first for a local council, City staff are delivering 23,000 free, reusable masks to social housing residents, boarding houses and rough sleepers.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore distributing free face masks.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the $200,000 initiative was part of the City’s commitment to work with NSW Health and help implement measures to beat Covid-19.

“When maintaining physical distancing is hard, we should all be wearing a face mask. But not everyone is able to buy them,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The City of Sydney has purchased cloth reusable masks for the most vulnerable in our community – rough sleepers, people in social housing and boarding houses. The masks are made from 3 ply material and meet the guidelines produced by the World Health Organisation. We worked with an Australian manufacturer, ClothMaskMe who provided the masks at cost price, as they were keen to support such an important cause.

“We are working closely with local health districts, other government agencies and relevant community organisations to ensure the masks are distributed as quickly and safely as possible.

“The City strongly supports the health advice that we should wear masks, particularly where physical distancing is difficult.

“This is an incredibly challenging time. If we are to beat Covid-19, we need to work together to ensure everyone is able to take the necessary precautions and stay safe.”

Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson, has applauded the City’s actions.

“In our area we have pockets of advantage, but also areas of great disadvantage,” Dr Anderson said.

“More than 13,000 people across Sydney and South Eastern Sydney local health districts are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, and we have many people living in social housing, or struggling financially due to job losses related to the pandemic.

“During Covid-19, we’ve worked hard to ensure the safety of these communities by running free wellness clinics in disadvantaged areas, and sending our flying squad of nurses into boarding houses to test residents. We have also been running free influenza clinics and handing out sanitiser and masks.

“We know the key ways to protect ourselves and the community are by socially distancing, sanitising or washing our hands and using masks, so we applaud this initiative by the City of Sydney.”

The City acted swiftly to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, including closing a large number of our facilities in accordance with Federal Government mandates.

The City has prioritised the health safety of residents, businesses and visitors by taking a staged approach to reopening with the implementation of Covid-19 safety plans.

We have also provided $10.6 million in cash grants and donations to local businesses, cultural organisations and community groups to help them survive the economic impacts of the pandemic and support those who are most vulnerable.

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