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News & Events / COVID-19 – Cabinet Office Release Exemptions on Face Coverings

Updated 27/07/2020- In settings where face coverings are mandated in England, there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings in these settings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings.

In a setting where a face covering is mandatory you need to consider taking the following steps and use the following language if you see someone entering or inside a store not wearing a face covering.

1:​  You may see an individual wearing a visual cue that indicates they are exempt from wearing a face covering.


2:​ If you cannot see a visual cue but need to ask an individual to put on a face covering, please keep your distance to help protect them. You may need to remove your own face covering so your full face and mouth can be seen to speak to them. This will aid lip reading and facial expression reading, important for those with hearing difficulties and those who are autistic.


3:​ Ask the individual “Please can you wear a face covering if you are able to?” This allows the individual to reply with “I am not able to/I am exempt”, rather than just “I don’t want to”.


4:​ Once an individual has said they are not able to/exempt, you ​must​ take their word and allow them to continue. ​A verbal confirmation alone is enough.​

You must not ask for proof of their medical exemption and it is not essential they show any form of exemption card at any point.


You can find the official government guidance on face coverings and exemptions here:




Please see cabinet office document here: Guidance_for_Face_Covering_Exemptions