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Who is exempt from wearing a facemask?

Face coverings are not compulsory for children under the age of 12. However children of primary school age who can tolerate wearing a mask should do so where possible.

There are further exemptions to the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, or whilst travelling on public transport and in all cases wearing will be subject to a reasonable excuse. These include:

  • if a person cannot 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 a person severe distress
  • if a person needs to speak to or provide assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate, or if wearing a mask will cause distress to the person someone is assisting
  • if asked to do so in court, by a judge, for the purpose of giving evidence or confirming identity
  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office or by a relevant official (e.g. a police officer) for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (for example by a pharmacist) or for age identification purposes, including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • in order to take medication

We are developing several mechanisms to help evidence that you qualify for one of the listed exemptions. We are working with the essential retail sector who will have stocks of sunflower lanyards for those who declare within those shops that they qualify by way of exemption.

We are also working on a printable exemption card that members of the community can carry if they wish to do so. This is in development and will be available ahead of Saturday’s implementation. There will also be an image that is sized appropriate for phones if people want to be able to display the card that way.

We are working with third sector partners also, who will be distributing different colour lanyards and advice to their members and service users.

Carrying a lanyard or proof of exemption card or badge is however a personal choice and is not required by law.

More info on face coverings at: