When in doubt, wear a mask. It's a simple message, but one that many Tasmanians - particularly those in the state's North - have not had to concern themselves with over the past year.
But with the state's borders about to reopen, Northern Tasmanians would do well to reacquaint themselves with the concept of mask-wearing - if not for their own health, then for the health of those around them.
Yesterday, Tasmania passed a crucial threshold, with more than 90 per cent of residents over the age of 16 now double vaccinated.
The state is also leading the nation when it comes to the number of people over 16 who have received one jab, with almost 96 per cent of Tasmanians having received their first shot.
But, although borders are reopening, and there being few official mask mandates in place, now is not the time for complacency.
While other states approaching similar milestones - and border reopenings - will be embracing the freedom of movement and associated easing of restrictions, Tasmania is in a different position.
The very act of moving to reopen borders to interstate arrivals means we will also move from having had virtually zero cases of COVID-19 to inviting the virus into our community. But we cannot stay an island unto ourselves forever, and although the government has warned that the virus will be certain to enter the community, it has put more safeguards in place than most other states to ensure residents' safety is of paramount concern.
Despite early signs suggesting the Omicron variant may cause less severe symptoms than previous strains of COVID, it may also prove to be more resistant to vaccines, so we can't afford to be lulled into a false sense of security.
Any strain of the virus could still prove deadly to those with chronic health conditions. Equally, the emergence of a new variant doesn't mean other strains such as Delta have gone away. We should all continue to do everything in our power to ensure the most vulnerable in the community stay safe and well.
The Tasmanian government's guidelines around mask-wearing have not changed, and the advice is clear: The main reason for wearing a face mask is to protect other people.
There will likely be instances and social settings in the coming weeks and months that necessitate mask-wearing, but regardless of mandates, if you cannot maintain physical distance, wearing a mask remains an important protective measure.
As one ABC talkback caller succinctly put it on Friday, "I wear a mask as a gift to others".
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