Face mask exemption card launched for shoppers to use in supermarkets

21 July 2020, 08:09 | Updated: 21 July 2020, 08:11

Face masks are mandatory in the UK from July 24
Face masks are mandatory in the UK from July 24. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

What is the face mask exemption card and who can get one? Here's what we know...

As of July 24, face coverings will be compulsory in all shops and supermarkets in the UK.

Those who fail to wear a mask while shopping could be hit with a fine up to £100.

The government has said this move will ‘give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops.’

However, there are some people who may be exempt from the strict new rules.

Shoppers will have to wear face masks from Friday
Shoppers will have to wear face masks from Friday. Picture: Getty Images

And now charity Hidden Disabilities has created a ‘face mask exemption card’ for anyone who has a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to wear one.

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While this is not official proof that you are exempt from wearing a mask in enclosed public spaces, the card simply indicates that you have a hidden disability, illness or impairment.

Costing 55p, it could help members of the public indicate to staff in shops why they might not be wearing their mask.

The Hidden Disabilities website explains: "Businesses who are members of the scheme are aware of our card and provide support, help, assistance or simply a little more time to those wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

"However, please note that shops and public transport can still refuse you entry if you are not wearing a face covering."

The full list of exemptions is yet to be published, but it is expected to be similar to the rules on public transport.

Government guidance states that you don’t have to wear a face covering if you have 'any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability', and would experience 'severe distress' from doing so.

This includes:

if you're with someone who requires lip-reading

if you suffer from severe distress when you put it on

suffer from a disability where you're unable to put it on

or you need to eat, drink or take medication

Children under 11 are also exempt, as well as those who suffer from autism.

Hidden Disabilities has pointed out that shops and public transport can still refuse you entry if you are not wearing a face covering.

Find out more here.

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