Face coverings – who needs to wear one?

The government bought in mandatory face coverings in shops and other public places on Friday 24th July. This was another step in the “new normal” and getting used to living with the reality of the Coronavirus.

Why were face coverings made mandatory?

COVID-19 usually spread by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first.

The best scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of Coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. Face coverings are intended to protect others, not the wearer, from Coronavirus. They are not intended as a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.

Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?

If you are living with a specific health condition, you can find out more information from your GP about wearing face coverings. Anyone with a health condition that prevents them from a face mask doesn’t need to wear one. This includes age or disability reasons. You should not be routinely asked to prove you’re exempt from wearing a face mask, although you might feel more comfortable carrying an exemption card.

This is a personal choice, though, and is not necessary in law. This applies to England and may differ in different parts of the UK.

Where can I get an exemption card?

Exemption cards can be a homemade card, they don’t have to be purchased. If you prefer something that looks more official, there are online shops that make them.

Hidden Disabilities – The Hidden Disabilities shop offers a range of lanyards, cards and badges that you can carry for various disabilities, not just face covering exemption.

The gov.uk  website also has templates that you can print out at home.

If you want more in depth information about face coverings, you can visit the gov.uk website.