Face coverings and exemptions

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Face mask

The law on the wearing of face coverings in England changed on Friday 24 July 2020. As well as on public transport, people are required to wear a face covering in shops and other enclosed public spaces. 

For your own protection and safety, that of other patients and the NHS staff who are caring for you, we encourage anyone attending the surgery to wear a face mask or face covering.

Thank you for your cooperation with this.

We know that some people are unable to wear a face covering because of a disability or severe distress, and the government has made provision for people not to have to wear a face covering if they 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.

More details on government advice about whow should wear a face covering can be found here.

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.

If you think you may be exempt or are unable to wear a face covering for health reasons, you can download and print off exemption cards to carry with you. 

St Mary’s Surgery is not obliged to provide you with a letter exempting you from wearing a face mask due to certain health issues. This is because a letter is not needed. Any patient can print their own exemption card.