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Face coverings - guidelines and exemptions Posted on 16 Jul 2020

Please see the link below for the latest government guidelines regarding wearing face coverings. The link also provides useful information regarding why face coverings are necessary, how and when to wear them and also how to make one yourself.


Exemptions to wearing a face covering where they are mandated

In settings where face coverings are mandated in England, there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings in these settings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings.

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

For exemptions in different parts of the UK please refer to the specific guidance for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


Please note: There is currently no requirement for individuals to provide evidence of their exemption from wearing a face covering, therefore self-declaration should be acceptable in most cases. Consequently patients do not need to request written exemption from their GP at this time. We will update our patients should these guidelines change.


Travel Guidance

Further information regarding safer travel guidance for passengers can also be found here:


We hope you find this information useful.

Please take care and stay safe.

The Practice Team at Upper Eden Medical Practice

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