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Face masks and the law


You have a right not to wear a mask

 

English law makes it clear that you don’t need to wear a mask on public transport or in shops if you have a “reasonable excuse”. It could be argued that having found this page means that wearing a mask has a negative impact on you and therefore you will be exempt. The law gives some examples, but there are many others which are not defined.

Note that you don’t need to have a disability or a letter from a doctor not to wear a mask – you merely have to state that you have a reasonable excuse.

You can obtain an exemption card to show if it helps (but you are not compelled to have one of these – you can just state that you are exempt).

The UK Government website states:

Exemption Cards.
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.
This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.
Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. Written evidence includes exemption cards.

Source: www.gov.uk  

What constitutes a “reasonable excuse”?

English law states the following for reasonable excuses not to wear face masks:
The UK Government website states:

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):
- young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
- 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
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
- in order to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering.

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