EXEMPTIONS

If you have a hidden disability or wearing a mask would cause severe distress you are not required to wear one.

UK Government Guidance on Exemption for Face Coverings


When you do not need to wear a face covering

In settings where face coverings are required in England there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering.

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 (Public Health England 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

  • 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

  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity

  • 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

  • if required in order to receive treatment or services, for example when getting a facial

  • in order to take medication

  • if you are delivering a sermon or prayer in a place of worship

  • if you are the persons getting married in a relevant place

  • if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so

  • if you are an elite sports person, professional dancer or referee acting in the course of your employment

  • when seated to eat or drink in a hospitality premise such as a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe. You must put a face covering back on once you finish eating or drinking.


Exemption cards

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 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, some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.

Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law.

If you wish to use an exemption card or badge, you can download exemption card templates. You can then print these yourself or show them on a mobile device. Please note that the government is not able to provide physical exemption cards or badges.