Wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is quickly becoming mandatory in England and Scotland on public transport and in shops. Now, face mask exempt products are being produced for people who can’t wear a mask.
Yesterday (14 July) the news broke that England is now making face masks or coverings compulsory inside shops from Friday 24 July. The new law also comes into place with a fine of up to £100 for those who break the rules.
However, some people are exempt from wearing a mask – including those under the age of 11 in England or under the age of five in Scotland – with breathing difficulties and with certain disabilities.
In a bid to reduce discrimination and the risks of being challenged for not wearing a face mask or covering, charity Euan’s Guide has created a ‘face mask exempt’ badge.
The motivation behind creating the badges is to make people feel comfortable visiting places where face masks are compulsory without being unnecessarily challenged.
Although face masks or coverings are now mandatory on public transport and now in shops, both Scotland and England have clear exemptions in specific cases – including having a disability meaning you cannot put on, wear, or remove face coverings.
“We know how upsetting it can be to be confronted by a stranger and so our hope is that our badges will do the talking on your behalf,” says Euan’s Guide.
As face masks become the new normal, research from charity Disability Rights UK has found that 60 per cent of people who cannot wear a face mask or covering fear being challenged.
It is hoped the badge will be an aide to many people living with a disability.
Similarly, charity Hidden Disabilities has created the Sunflower Face Shield (£9.99). the shield has been created for people travelling or out in public to indicate that you, or someone in your party, has a hidden disability and may require extra time, care, or patience.
You can also purchase a face covering exempt card (£0.55) to show that you are unable to wear a face mask or covering.