Face Coverings Exemption – Advice and Printout Cards

Face masks, or a suitable covering over the nose and mouth, will be mandatory in shops in England from Friday 24th July, and have been mandatory for some time on public transport. While we would want to encourage everyone to wear a face mask in these circumstances if possible, there are some legitimate exemptions. The full Government advice on this is available on their website.

You do not need a letter from your GP.

The list of exemptions is as follows:

  • 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
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

If you are exempt on medical grounds, then you do not need a letter from your GP to confirm this, as you are allowed to self-declare. We are very grateful to you for not asking us for a letter, we will not be able to do one, as you can imagine how many letters we could be asked for.

You don’t have to wear an ‘exemption’ badge, but you might like to wear something that explains to other people why you are not wearing a mask, so that they don’t think you are breaking the rules. You can make your own badge for this, and could use the pre-made badges for you to download and print.