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Face Coverings – Not Everyone Can Wear One

Whilst the use of face coverings is now mandatory in Scotland in many settings, it is important to recognise and be mindful that not everyone can wear one.

The Scottish Government asks for people to be aware of the exemptions and to treat each other with kindness during this time.


Individuals are exempt if :

  • They have a disability or health condition that means they cannot put a covering on
  • A covering will cause them severe distress or anxiety
  • They need to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading
  • They have a reasonable need to eat, drink or take medicine


You can read more detailed information on exemptions on the gov.scot website.

At present, there is no requirement to obtain evidence in the form of a letter from a doctor or government that you are exempt. If you have a condition which means you cannot wear a face covering you need only advise if asked that you cannot wear a face covering because you are exempt for one of the reasons listed above.

You can download a Face Covering Exemption Card from Disability Equality Scotland if it would make you feel more comfortable and confident explaining why you aren’t wearing a face covering. There are also exemption cards and badges that can be downloaded from the gov.uk website.

You can read more from the Health and Safety Executive about face coverings and masks at work.

While medical face masks are prioritised for health and care workers, you might want to try making your own face covering. This BBC webpage shows you how you can make your own face covering.


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