If you are using public transport anywhere in England, you have to wear a face mask or covering to help protect yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). However, there are some people who are exempt from this rule and will not be made to wear a face covering, or stopped from travelling on public transport. This is relevant for many of our members.

Here is some information that we have taken from the government’s official guidance (you can read this here):

The requirement to wear a face covering also does not apply if you have a reasonable excuse not to. Reasonable excuses include:

· if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering

· if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress

· if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

· if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you

· if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others

· if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering

· if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard

If you have a reasonable excuse and are not wearing a face covering when travelling on public transport, there are some ways that you can communicate this to public transport staff.

  • KeepSafe.org has posters about wearing face masks and cards that you can download which explain why you are not wearing a mask, on their website.
  • First Group has produced a card which you can print out and carry with you, download it here.
  • Hidden Disabilities has produced a card that you can wear on your Sunflower Lanyard to show that you are exempt from wearing a face covering:

You can buy one of these cards for 0.55p from the Hidden Disabilities website.