Following on from our earlier post on mandatory face coverings, the UK Government has now detailed that people with disabilities are exempt from the rules.
As face coverings become mandatory in enclosed spaces from today (24 July) in England, the government has issued additional guidance for people with disabilities.
The new list of exemptions includes anyone under the age of 11, people with disabilities, or people with hidden health conditions including breathing difficulties, mental health conditions and autism.
This also includes anxiety or panic disorders, dementia, reduced vision or if you are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
Minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, says: “The government has been working with a wide range of disabled people’s organisations and charities throughout the pandemic to better understand the concerns of disabled people and to ensure that government guidance continues to be as inclusive as possible.”
Along with the new guidance, exemption cards are now available to download from the government website.
The public are being urged to be mindful of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering and the fact that some conditions are hidden.
“The new regulations are an important step forward in our efforts to defeat coronavirus but I would urge the public and businesses to be mindful of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering – particularly those with disabilities and health conditions,” adds Mr Tomlinson.
“Some disabilities are hidden and not immediately obvious and everyone must play their part and act sensitively towards people who may need additional support.”
Under the regulations, members of the public will have to wear face coverings over the mouth and nose in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs. The new measures are an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People will not be required to prove they are exempt and individuals can choose how they want to communicate this to others.
Exemption cards will make it more comfortable to show this without having to explain their condition to other members of the public.