New printable face mask exemption cards to help disabled people to communicate their status to others
To help those with physical or mental disabilities communicate their face mask exemption status clearly to others, the UK Government has published some new, wearable exemption cards for disabled people to use for free.
In England, it is now a legal requirement for people to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. People are expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave.
However, some people are exempt from these face coverings rules due to health, age or equality reasons. This includes children under the age of 11 and people with physical or mental disabilities.
To help disabled people feel more comfortable when out and about, and to reduce the chances of them being challenged or judged for not wearing a face covering, the UK Government has published some face mask exemption card templates, which can be used on mobile phones or printed out at home for free.
The exemption cards are designed for disabled people to clearly communicate to others that they do not have to wear a face covering. The UK Government stresses that this is a personal choice and not a mandatory requirement for disabled people to use exemption cards.
There is one template for use on mobile phones and the other two can be printed at home to be worn as a badge or used as a card. They include important, concise and clear messaging such as “I am exempt from wearing a face covering” and “Be kind. Keep your distance. Thank you for understanding.”
Disabled access review site Euan’s Guide has produced its own free ‘face mask exempt badges’ which are available to order online for those who are unable to wear a mask.
However, after receiving very high demand for these badges, the charity has also published its own face mask exemption badge templates for disabled people who do not want to wait, or cannot wait, for a badge to arrive. The DIY badges could either be stuck on to existing badges or attached to a piece of card and a safety pin and worn as a badge, Euan’s Guide notes.
Recently, Euan’s Guide also published the results of its survey about what disabled people are most worried about when returning to venues across the UK as lockdown restrictions have eased.