How to get a face mask exemption card and all the reasons for being eligible

It will soon be mandatory to wear a face covering in supermarkets and other shops in England.

By Dan Windham
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 11:45 am

Starting on July 24, those going shopping need to have their nose and mouth covered or risk a £100 fine.

This comes after rules requiring people to wear face coverings on public transport became mandatory last month.

Initially many experts and authorities, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), suggested face coverings were not effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus but are now recommending wearing them in indoor spaces.

A pedestrian wearing a mask as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Experts say the risk of coronavirus transmission appears to be higher in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and wearing face coverings in small shops or enclosed shopping centres could help reduce the spread.

The WHO advises a three-layer face covering in the community - the outer layer should be water resistant, the inner should be water absorbent and the mid-layer acts as a filter.

It emphasises that a face covering alone cannot protect people from Covid-19, and must be combined with social distancing of at least a metre and regular hand washing.

There are a few exceptions to the new rules about face coverings in shops - children under 11 and people with certain disabilities and breathing conditions will be exempt.

- if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering

- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress

- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip-reading to communicate

It adds to the list of places we have to be covered up which currently includes all public transport as well as all hospital visitors and outpatients in England.

Official guidance says people in England should also wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible.

The charity Hidden Disabilities are now giving out a face mask exemption card for anyone with the right requirements to be exempt from the law.

The card costs 55p and will indicate that the wearer has a hidden disability and has a reasonable excuse for not wearing a face covering.

You can find out more here.