You must wear a face covering in shops and other indoor places, in line with government guidance.
However, some people are exempt from wearing a face covering. You are exempt if you:
- are a child under the age of 11
- have a disability
- have a learning disability or autism
- would experience severe distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
- use lip reading
- have a health condition that could be made worse by a face covering, such as breathing problems
If you’re not sure, you can check the list of exemptions.
If you see somebody without a face covering, remember that they may have a hidden disability. Do not challenge them aggressively. For some people, harsh words can be very frightening and upsetting.
If you are exempt from wearing a face covering and would like some extra reassurance, you can download a free Essex Coronavirus Action exemption card. You can print one to keep in your bag or pocket, or you can download to your phone. You can then show the card, or the downloaded version, if anyone asks why you aren’t wearing a face covering.
There are different cards for different situations. If you would prefer not to tell people why you’re exempt, there’s a general ‘I am exempt from wearing a face covering’ card too.
There is also a card if you use lip reading and need to ask somebody to remove their mask while they talk to you.