THE region's frontline council workers will don face masks when dealing with customers to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Leader can reveal Tamworth Regional Council has a 50,000-strong cache of masks and gloves ready for staff after a gift from its sister city in China.
Workers will have the option to wear the protective gear after Qinglong County in Guizhou Province, China, provided council with the valuable stockpile.
Mayor Col Murray said the measures were crucial to ensuring the council was doing its bit to help combat the deadly virus.
"I am proud to be able to say we are one of the first regional councils to promote mask wearing among staff," Cr Murray said.
"We received an amazing gift from our sister city Qinglong - more than 50,000 masks and gloves - which we have verified are suitable for use by our staff in customer-facing roles should they choose to do so.
"It's important that we lead the way for our community in following the necessary health measures experts recommend to fight this disease because people's lives are at stake.
"It really is up to each and every one of us to remain vigilant and follow the health measures experts recommend so we can keep our community safe."
The measure comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned of harsher social-distancing restrictions if more masks were not worn in public spaces.
The Premier has urged everyone to follow advice from health experts to wear facemasks in environments where social distancing was not guaranteed including shopping centres, public transport and places of worship.
Council's general manager Paul Bennett said the council had been planning the initiative for some time and that it was crucial staff had access to masks.
"This is not only important in keeping our staff safe but also residents of our region," he said.
"We all know building good habits put us in good stead for the ongoing battle against COVID-19.
"Having masks available for them if they choose to wear them is important because the health and well-being of our workforce and our community remains our top priority.
"NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant has explained how wearing a mask is the fourth line of defence against COVID-19 - it comes after staying at home if sick, following social distancing measures and having good hand hygiene.
"We want our staff to be able to have the choice of having a fourth line of defence."