Many UK supermarkets banned people from their stores earlier this month who were not wearing a mask without an exemption card.
Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainbury’s and Waitrose are among those which put the ban in place.
However, there are exceptions to the rule, and some people with a medical condition are exempt, report The Mirror.
The government currently says you don’t have to wear a covering if you have “a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability” and would experience “severe distress” from doing so.
- Children (under 11 in England or Wales, under 13 in Northern Ireland, under five in Scotland)
- If you’re travelling with, or assisting, someone who requires lip-reading
- Those unable to put on or wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability
- People for whom wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
To eat, drink or take medication
If you are travelling with someone who requires lip-reading or reading facial expressions, wearing a mask will not be compulsory.
The new rule will not apply to retail staff, but will apply to all members of the public. Children under 11 are also exempt.
What is the face mask exemption card?
The Government says you will not be asked to show written evidence if you’re not wearing a face mask – with supermarkets and shops urged to be mindful towards those who may have special circumstances.
However, exemption cards and badges are available if you’re worried about being stopped.
This is a personal choice, and is not necessary in law.
It’s in the form of an e-document that you can save on your phone.
The charity Hidden Disabilities has also created a face mask exemption card for anyone with the right requirements to be exempt from the law.
This card simply indicates that you have a hidden disability, illness or impairment and have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face-covering.
The card costs 55p, but could provide you with the peace of mind in case you are stopped.
It can also make individuals feel better knowing they have something to show, if needed, a reason as to why they are not wearing a mask.
“Businesses who are members of the scheme are aware of our card and provide support, help, assistance or simply a little more time to those wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower,” the Hidden Disabilities website explains.
“However, please note that shops and public transport can still refuse you entry if you are not wearing a face covering.”