Euan's Guide face mask exempt badges image

Disabled access charity Euan’s Guide has revealed findings from its survey about how its ‘face mask exempt’ badges have helped disabled people avoid harassment and judgement when out and about.

The charity launched the popular badges back in June, with an aim of making disabled people who are exempt from wearing face masks feel more comfortable visiting places where the majority of people will be wearing face coverings.

Free to order from Euan’s Guide, the simple badges contain the charity’s logo, website address, along with the clear and concise message: “face mask exempt.”

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Since the launch of the badges in June, the charity has given out around 17,000 badges to disabled people in the UK who are exempt, in line with UK Government guidelines.

The badges are not designed to act as official proof of exemption status, the charity insists, but are instead intended to make exempt wearer feel more comfortable visiting places where the majority of people will be wearing face coverings and to help them avoid embarrassing questioning and discrimination.

To explore how useful its ‘face mask exempt’ badges have been in the eyes of wearers, Euan’s Guide ran a small survey with people who received the badge.

Before receiving a face mask exempt badge, 18 per cent of participants said that they had been refused entry for not wearing a face covering and two-fifths of participants had been questioned by a member of staff for not wearing a face covering, the survey found.

These figures reduced to nine per cent and 27 per cent respectively since receiving the badge, Euan’s Guide notes.

Furthermore, the survey found that since receiving a face mask exempt badge, 93 per cent of participants felt more confident vising places and 88 per cent of participants felt that the badge was helping to prevent unnecessary harassment.

This suggests that the handy face mask exemption badges have helped disabled people to feel more comfortable when out and about and has helped reduce the amount disabled people have been questioned for not wearing a face covering.

However, Euan’s Guide says that whilst it’s good its badges have helped disabled people, more needs to be done to ensure people understand the face mask exemption rules.

“So many places still don’t acknowledge exemptions in their messaging and signage to customers, which can make people who are exempt feel unwelcome and put them off visiting,” the charity states.

“There is no legal requirement to prove you don’t need to wear a face covering. Despite this, we are still hearing of people who are exempt according to Government guidance being turned away or questioned by staff or members of the public for not wearing a face covering.”

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