Of course wearing a face covering is a really great idea, but not everyone can even though they want to. That’s why the Government Guidance includes caveats, or exemptions.
These are the exemptions set out in The Government Guidance on Face Coverings and Exemptions
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
We are extremely concerned at recent fashionable announcements being made by businesses, including supermarkets which are creating a hostile environment for disabled people exempt from wearing masks.
The Cabinet Office issued these instructions to Supermarkets to assist: guidance_for_face_covering_exemptions
Key extracts are,
“Once an individual has said they are not able to/exempt, you must take their word and allow them to continue. A verbal confirmation alone is enough. You must not ask for proof of their medical exemption and it is not essential they show any form of exemption card at any point.
Please note if someone is travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate, they too are exempt from wearing a face covering.”
……”any form of visual cue that indicates an exemption should be respected”.
We call upon Supermarkets to act on the Cabinet Office guidance and provide clear messaging both to staff and the public that blanket policies of ‘No Mask No Entry’ are wrong, and unlawful.
If you have been refused access to a service provider despite having an exemption, and especially if you have provided proof of your exemption you may have a viable claim for disability discrimination. You can contact us on this by completing the form at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeqL2Fc3Zc86fIyvecd6IvmnzFunDZagmQ05ms0_ANIvcvWEA/viewform