Face masks rules

From 15th June 2020, in England, it became compulsory to wear a face mask or covering on public transport, including buses, trains, aircraft and ferries. This is now also the case in Scotland as of 22nd June.

From 24th July, face masks will also be mandatory in shops in England. They are already a requirement in Scotland.

If you’re caught without a face mask, you’ll be denied access to public transport or the shop, and possibly given a fine of £100 (£50 if paid within 14 days).

Face mask exemption on public transport and in shops

These rules don’t apply to children under the age of 11 and disabled people or those with health conditions when there is a ‘reasonable excuse‘ not to. This includes:

  • where you cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering:
  • where you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person who relies on lip-reading to communicate
  • to eat or drink where it is reasonably necessary to do so
  • where you have to remove your face covering to take medication

To put this into context, exemptions apply if you have a disability or condition that would make it very difficult to wear a face covering.

For example, if you have respiratory condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you may find it too difficult to breathe through a face covering.

If you have a learning difficulty, sensory processing disorder or neurodivergent condition, wearing a mask could be too overwhelming.

If you have communication difficulties, speech impairment or find it hard to express yourself with a mask on, especially if you are non-verbal, a mask would be difficult.

Mask exemptions also apply if you need to communicate with a deaf person who lip-reads.

This list is not exhaustive and there will be many other disabilities, including invisible ones, that would make wearing a mask very difficult.

Other exemptions apply to some transport workers and other specific situations.

The government has also strongly advised that people wear face coverings in other enclosed spaces, such as hospitals, where social distancing can’t be achieved.

Face mask exemption cards

Government guidelines listed above mean that you can now self-certify as being exempt.

To ensure that you don’t get fined when you’re genuinely exempt for medical reasons, we’ve created some exemption cards.

Our mask exemption cards are the size of a credit card. Simply print and cut out the one you need. It is a portable pass that you can carry while travelling.

It provides drivers and staff with immediate and simple-to-understand information regarding your mask exemption.

If you are unable to print these at home, simply pop into our Chester or Ellesmere Port Shopmobility shops who will gladly print and cut one out for you. Both shops are open Tuesday – Saturday 9.30am – 4.30pm.

Download and print your card, here:

Face Mask Exemption Cards