Face covering exemption scheme31/07/20
Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action is working in partnership with Dundee City Council on a scheme to support people who are exempt from having to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport.
Current measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus mean that most people must wear a face mask or covering when in retail premises or on public transport.
However, those with certain health conditions or hidden disabilities (as well as children under 5) are exempt from this.
In order to address anxieties and deal with any confusion over the rules, the agencies can provide a letter explaining that the holder has a valid reason for not wearing a face covering.
People may have an acceptable reason not to wear a face covering if:
- They have a health condition where a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause pain, severe distress or anxiety
- They cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
- They need to take medication
- They need to communicate with another who relies on lip reading
- They need to eat or drink
- They are a child under the age of five
More information about exemptions can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Nicola Mitchell, Older People’s Services Development Officer at DVVA, said: “We have been receiving calls from individuals and carers who are exempt but who are worried that they won’t be allowed into a shop or will be made to feel uncomfortable by other people because they are not wearing a face covering.
“Having been stuck in the house for such a long time, this worry and stress is causing them to stop going out again.
“Lots of people have hidden disabilities which wearing a mask would make it difficult for them to do so safely.”
Councillor Lynne Short, Dundee City Council equalities spokesperson, said: “Kindness and compassion have been the watchwords of this city’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m sure that will continue now that we have entered a new phase and more people are starting to go out and about.
“It’s important that those who can do so comply with the regulations and wear a mask or covering when in shops or on public transport, to prevent the spread of this awful virus.
“Just as important, however, is that we support those with conditions or disabilities which prevent them from wearing a mask.
“This letter scheme will help explain if required, and it’s important that they are accepted by shops and public transport operators without fuss when presented.
“But I would hope that the need to show one of these letters will be the exception, not the rule and that staff and members of the public will be considerate, not challenging, towards anyone who isn’t wearing a covering.”
Any Dundee resident who requires a letter can print one out by clicking on this link and choosing Face Covering Exemptions from the menu. Those with difficulties accessing IT can alternatively call Customer Services on (01382) 433558 and have a letter posted out to them.
For more information, contact Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action on 01382 305700.