Those with autism, anxiety and other “hidden” disabilities exempt from face coverings, confirms Government

Autistic people and those with anxiety or panic disorders are among the individuals exempt from wearing face masks in public, it has been confirmed.

The statement comes after shoppers were told to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

However, anyone under the age of 11, those with physical disabilities, or anyone with “hidden” health conditions are exempt from wearing a face mask in public.

The full list of exemptions includes:

  • Young children under the age of 11
  • Those not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • in order to take medication

While people are not required to prove they are exempt, the Government has published a range of free digital and print exemption cards.

Commenting on the exemptions, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson said: “The new regulations are an important step forward in our efforts to defeat coronavirus but I would urge the public and businesses to be mindful of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering – particularly those with disabilities and health conditions.

“Some disabilities are hidden and not immediately obvious and everyone must play their part and act sensitively towards people who may need additional support.”

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