Euan's Guide has created the badges as many disabled people are unable to wear face coverings
A charity is offering support to those who are unable to wear face masks.
A new initiative to help disabled people and individuals with hidden impairments navigate the complexities of social distancing is being launched by Euan’s Guide, a charity focused on making it easier for disabled people to get out and about.
The charity is providing free ‘face mask exempt’ badges to help people who cannot wear a face covering to get out and travel without harassment.
Figures from Disability Rights UK showed that nearly 60% of people who cannot wear a face covering fear being challenged for not wearing one. The research showed that the same amount of people felt they lacked the confidence to stand up for themselves if they were challenged for not wearing a face covering.
Face masks now must be worn on public transport in Scotland. While both the UK and Scottish Governments have released a list of individuals who are exempt from this requirement, it is not stopping people from commenting and judging individuals who are not wearing a mask.
People’s reasons for being exempt may not be obvious at first glance. The badge has been designed to stand out and quickly alert others that there is a reason why the individual is not wearing a mask.
The idea behind the badge came from Euan’s Guide users who were sharing their concerns of how they would be treated for going places without a mask. The badge is designed to make the wearer feel more comfortable visiting places where the majority of people will be wearing face covering.
Paul Ralph, access and inclusion director for Euan’s Guide, said: “People are often quick to judge, which can make it intimidating to travel when you are going against the majority and seemingly ‘violating’ the rules. Individual reasons for not wearing face masks are not always obvious, which is why we’ve created these badges so that the wearer feels more confident to travel and to ensure that everyone knows that some people are exempt from the face covering rule in England and Scotland.”
The charity has a limited number of badges to give out initially free of charge. They hope to be able to produce and distribute more badges with the support of donations. Anyone looking to request a badge or find out more about how they can support this project should visit the Euan’s Guide website.