You must wear a face covering in shops and other indoor places in line with Government guidance.
However, some people are exempt from wearing a face covering.
You are exempt if you:
- Are a child aged 11 or under
- Have a disability
- Have a learning disability or autism
- Would experience severe distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
- Use lip reading
- Have a health condition that could be made worse by a face covering, such as breathing problems
Not sure? You can check the list of exemptions at gov.uk.
If you see somebody without a face covering, please consider that they may have a hidden disability. Do not challenge them aggressively. For some people, harsh words can be very frightening and upsetting.
Essex Coronavirus Action exemption card
If you are exempt from wearing a face covering and would like some extra reassurance, you can download an Essex Coronavirus Action exemption card for free below. You can print them at home and keep them in your bag or pocket, or you can download them to your phone to show people on your screen if anyone asks why you aren’t wearing a face covering.
There are different cards for different situations. If you would prefer not to tell people why you’re exempt, there’s a general ‘I am exempt from wearing a face covering’ card too.
There is also a card which you can show if you use lip reading and need to ask somebody to remove their mask while they talk to you.
- I am autistic (pdf 47KB)
- I am exempt (pdf 47KB)
- I am under 11 (pdf 47KB)
- I have a disability (pdf 48KB)
- I have a health condition (pdf 47KB)
- I have a learning disability (pdf 48KB)
- I have breathing problems (pdf 48KB)
- I use lip reading (pdf 47KB)
- Lip-reading – please remove your mask (pdf 47KB)
‘Please give me space’ social distancing cards
Optional cards and badges produced by GOV.UK that can be used to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing. They can be used to signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and be given space.
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