With the new legal requirements regarding face coverings coming into effect in England, we thought it might be useful to explain when and who requires a covid exemption card/certificate.
If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:
- You do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
- You do not need to show an exemption card
This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.
However, if you feel more comfortable showing something that says you do not have to wear a face covering, this could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or sign. Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and not required by law.
If you wish to use an exemption card or badge, you can download and print out or show these templates: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
Exemptions from face coverings
In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear them, so please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.
Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
This includes (but is not limited to):
- children under the age of 11 (The UK Health and Security Agency does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
- people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
- police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:
- if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
- if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (for example by a pharmacist) or for age identification purposes, including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
- in order to take medication