FACE masks have become a more common sight around Newcastle's city centre and on public transport this week after the NSW government encouraged their use.
Brett Harris, area manager of Craig Cook's Prime Quality Meats, commended those who had taken the extra level of precaution at Marketown over the past 48 hours.
"I'd say it would be a third, maybe even 40 per cent," he said of the number of shoppers now wearing masks.
"Since Melbourne started going pear-shaped, especially after they hit that stage-four lockdown, everyone has taken it upon themselves to do something before we end up in that situation [here]."
Amie McCormick, who runs the nearby Mister Minit locksmiths, said there had been a steady rise in mask-use over the past few weeks.
"Ever since the outbreak with Melbourne," she said.
"It was previously dribs and drabs. Now it's every second or third [person]."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a "strong recommendation" that people wear masks on public transport, at the supermarket, while working in customer-facing roles in hospitality or retail, and when attending a place of worship.
Plenty of public transport users have heeded the advice, most notably on trains.
On Tuesday's 8.30am Adamstown to Newcastle Interchange service, which is well patronised by a large number of school students who disembark at Broadmeadow, 15 people in one carriage - about half those on board - had masks on.
That ratio was reflected in the broader number of passengers who exited Newcastle Interchange after the train terminated.
A Hunter line train that arrived shortly after appeared to have a smaller percentage of passengers wearing masks than the train on the Sydney line.
Jaslyn Walters, who commutes from Maitland to Newcastle four days a week, was one of the few that did.
The 20-year-old hairdresser is required to wear a mask at work, as are her customers, but she has started wearing it on the train to and from work as a personal precaution.
"Even though they have those green dots, I feel like some people still don't really look at them," she said in reference to stickers placed on seats to encourage social distancing.
"I think it might be a good thing to have [masks] just as that little bit of security, to make sure everyone is doing the right thing and it's also an enclosed space."
Other train and tram passengers the Newcastle Herald spoke to on Tuesday said they were surprised the use of face masks was only now being encouraged.
Public transport workers are being provided masks, but they are not forced to wear them.
"Transport for NSW has made face masks available for customer facing frontline staff, including NSW TrainLink staff, and is strongly recommending these masks are used at work, in particular where physical distancing is not possible," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
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"Keolis Downer [which operates Newcastle's buses, trams and ferries] has also made masks available for staff and is strongly encouraging staff to wear them when at work.
"The use of face masks is strongly recommended, but is not compulsory.
"In line with NSW Health advice, people should not use public transport if unwell, practise physical distancing and ensure good hand hygiene.
"The use of a face mask does not replace the need for these important measures."
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