Face mask exemption cards: Who qualifies and how to get one

21 July 2020, 11:02

What is a face mask exemption card? Here's all we know, including who qualifies and how to get one
What is a face mask exemption card? Here's all we know, including who qualifies and how to get one. Picture: Getty

By Sian Hamer

As of July 24, wearing a face mask will be mandatory in all shops and supermarkets in the UK. Here's what you need to know about a face exemption card.

It will be compulsory that all shoppers wear a face mask in UK shops and supermarkets as of this Friday (July 24).

Anyone who fails to do so could face a fine of up to £100, the government has warned.

However, some people may exempt from the new rules.

The full list of exemptions has not yet been published, but previous guidance from the government on wearing face masks on public transport has stated that you do not need to wear a mask if you have “any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability”.

What is a face mask exemption card?

The charity Hidden Disabilities has created a ‘face covering exempt card’.

It isn’t an official card, but instead indicates that you have a hidden disability and have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face mask, the charity explains.

They have, however, said that shops and public transport can still refuse you entry if you are not wearing a face covering.

How do I get a face mask exemption card?

You can buy a card from the Hidden Disabilities website here.

It costs 55p.

Read more: How long will we have to wear face masks for? Your questions answered

What are the face mask exemptions?

Though the full list of exemptions has not yet been published, the guidance is expected to be similar to the existing public transport rules.

The government has said you do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to, which includes:

• 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

• if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you

• if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others

• if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering

• if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard

How to get a face mask exemption card
How to get a face mask exemption card. Picture: Getty

Read more: Boris Johnson unveils plans for 'significant return to normality': What the new rules mean for you

The government has also said that the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport does not apply to:

• a child under the age of 11

• passengers in an allocated cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, when they are alone or with members of their household or support bubble

• passengers who remain in their private vehicle while on board public transport, for example on a car ferry

• an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment

• any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services

• a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty

• an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty

• an official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties