The mandatory rule for masks to be worn in indoor office spaces has been described as “overkill” as many workers struggle to wear them over long periods of time.

It comes after Victorian businesses have welcomed 25 per cent of private sector workers back into office spaces with the mandatory indoor mask rule still applying throughout the workday.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra has sympathised with the staff, saying they would prefer to see them able to take the masks off when sitting down at desks.

“You already have social distancing. So we say, let people breathe normally while they’re sitting at their desks, and when they stand up the mask goes back on.”

Gardening franchise Jim’s Group’s Chief Executive Joel Kleber had described the rule as “overkill”, considering the business was only allowed to bring back 20 people when usually staff would be in the office.

“We have all the COVID-safe workplace measures in place – a sign-in sheet for contact tracing and our own temperature checking station – so it doesn’t make sense to have masks on top of all that,” he said.

“Workplaces would be stupid not to have a COVID-safe work plan, but the masks are overkill and hoping at the very least they’re not needed if there is adequate space on site.”

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce further relaxations on Sunday and insists that masks will play a vital rule in “protecting all the hard work Victorians have done” to get to a COVID-normal.

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