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Face mask exemption cards welcomed


The Scottish Government is set to introduce cards to help those who are unable to wear face masks for health reasons

Those who cannot wear face masks for health reasons are set to be given exemption cards.

The Scottish Government has said that it is working to rollout a scheme where those who cannot wear a mask receive a card to say they are exempt.

The move has been welcomed by Age Scotland, who say the anxiety about being challenged for not wearing a mask is leading to some vulnerable people staying at home.

Under coronavirus rules, people have to wear a face mask in many indoor spaces such as public transport, shops and in places like cinemas, galleries, museums, libraries and banks unless they are exempt from doing so.

Those not required to wear them include people with certain health conditions and disabilities, including hidden disabilities such as autism, dementia or a learning disability.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said it is hoped that the initiative can be brought in soon.

She said: “I am very aware that for some people, for whom wearing a face covering is very difficult indeed because of a health condition that they have, that there is concern for some about how other people see them and judge them, so we are working on a card that individuals in those circumstances will be able to have.

“I hope it’s almost finished its development and we are working out how we would distribute that to those who genuinely would qualify for it without overburdening our GPs or anyone else.

“We’ve almost completed that exercise so I would hope it would be available to people very soon.”

Age Scotland chief executive Brian Sloan said: “It is great news that there will soon be a recognised face coverings exemption card. We have been in discussions with the Scottish Government for a number of months making the case for this to be rolled out nationwide following large number of calls to our helpline from older people.

"Many people have been concerned that despite their exemption for medical reasons, they have been denied entry to shops, transport and public spaces unless they were able to prove their status.

“While we should all be tolerant of others and accept that some are exempt, the negative experiences and stigma faced on a regular basis by those unable to wear a covering means that this kind of scheme is necessary.

“This new scheme should offer those who are unable to wear a mask a level of comfort, ease the anxieties they experience when out in public and, while it should be unnecessary, demonstrate to others around them that they have a legitimate reason for being unable to cover their mouth and nose”.



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