As of today, Friday 24th July 2020, Face coverings have become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England. With more stringent guidelines now in place people who fail to comply could receive a fine of up to £100.
However there are legitimate circumstances when a mask is not required, as well as some exempt groups – here’s how the measures work.
Face Covering Exemptions
You do not need to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons or if you have a legitimate reason not to.
The following factors have been listed by the UK government as legitimate reasons not to wear a covering:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
More generally, the official Government advice says: “If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas.”
If You Can’t Wear a face Covering – Buy a Card or print your own exemption card
What is a face covering exemption card?
The charity Hidden Disabilities is selling a face covering “exempt card” featuring its sunflower logo for £0.55. This is designed to be worn on a lanyard.
Its purpose is to indicate that the wearer has a disability which might not be visually obvious but would mean the person has a valid reason not to wear a face covering under Government guidance.
While the card does not carry an official status as proof, the charity hopes that having something to display if challenged will give people with disabilities more confidence to enter shops and supermarkets with the new rules now in force.
Further information can be found on the website https://www.hiddendisabilitiesstore.com