Who is exempt from wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport?

Although face coverings are now mandatory in shops, on public transport and in similar enclosed spaces, the public are asked to be mindful of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering. The list of exemptions, which has been in place since face coverings became mandatory on public transport, includes hidden conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders, autism, breathing difficulties, dementia, reduced vision or if you are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. You can find out more on the Government website at Disabled people exempt from wearing face coverings.

You are not required to prove that you are exempt and it is for individuals to choose how they would want to communicate this to others. For those who would feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering, exemption cards are available to print or display on mobile phones from gov.uk.

Some disabled people have chosen to wear a badge or lanyard displaying the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. If you have a hidden disability and feel that you would benefit from wearing a product that makes the invisible visible, go to the Hidden Disabilities website to find out more. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower does not entitle you to anything other than identifying that you have a hidden disability and that you may need some assistance, help, or a little more time.