Residents who are exempt from wearing face coverings can now apply for a pin-badge to help communicate their exemption to others in the community.
Since July 24 it has been mandatory to wear a face covering on all public transport and in shops.
Scientific evidence shows that face coverings can help by catching the small droplets that are sometimes spread when we talk or cough. These can contain coronavirus and land on surfaces and other people.
But whilst Richmond Council is currently emphasising that everyone should wear a face covering, there are a small number of people who are exempt. This includes people who have ‘hidden conditions’ for example, trouble breathing or those who have a medical condition or disability.
In the last few weeks there has been a rise in the number of media reports of people being publicly challenged for not wearing a face covering. Many of these people were exempt.
To provide support for those who are unable to wear a mask and help communicate their exemption to those around them in a non-confrontational way, Richmond Council has created a pin badge. These will be available through local charities, but also online.
Cllr Michael Wilson, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Equalities and Communities, said:
“Whilst it is essential that we all wear face coverings when on public transport or in enclosed spaces, there are a small number of people that cannot due to a health reason.
“We know that some of these people have been challenged, sometimes aggressively, by other members of the public. These new pin badges are designed to ease that confrontation – like other badges that we are all well used to seeing e.g. ‘Baby on Board’.
“We all need to do our bit. But at the heart of everything is the need to be kind and considerate of other people.
“If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, apply online or give us a call and we will send you a badge. If you do see someone wearing a badge – do not challenge them. There is a reason that might not be obvious to explain why they are not wearing a mask.”
To apply for a Face Coverings exemptions pin, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/masks or call: 020 8891 1411