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Face covering exemptions

What are the requirements in England?

More details at gov.uk/coronavirus

I feel anxious about wearing face masks, what should I do?

Or see tips from Jen Dodds on Limping Chicken

I am a hearing person, what should I do to make communication more accessible for a Deaf person?

There are lots of resources circulating to support individuals, healthcare settings and businesses in becoming more Deaf aware and tools you can use to aid communication. Here are a few good ones that we are aware of:

  • Clear Face Masks – There are tutorials available for making your own or you can find them being sold online.
  • Speech-To-Text Apps – These apps make messages large on your phone screen so that you can share what you are saying or typing with someone who cannot hear you.
  • BSL Health Access – Free interpreting service for use in health settings such as testing centres, hospitals, GPs, pharmacies, opticians, etc.
  • NDCS – Info for families of deaf children, including DIY clear face mask videos.
  • Deaf Umbrella – Deaf Awareness Training and other resources
  • Get Deaf Aware – Deaf Awareness Training
  • Breakthrough UK – #SocialModelMonday

Do you have other suggestions for good resources or accounts to follow? Let us know what else should be on this list by emailing communications@signhealth.org.uk

What if I see someone who is not wearing a mask, should I tell them to put one on?

No, the Department of Health and Social Care states “you should not challenge anyone for not wearing a face covering.” There are many reasons why someone might be exempt from wearing a face mask, including supporting someone who relies on lip-reading, mental illness, employment exemptions, etc. Written evidence for the exemption is not required and no one should be asked to wear a badge or carry an exemption card.

I have asthma, do I need to wear a mask?

Visit Asthma UK for more advice. They suggest experimenting with different types of masks – some are easier to wear than others. Sometimes the feeling of wearing a face mask might take a bit of getting used to, but trying different types and starting with short periods of time can help you feel more comfortable.

If I am exempt from wearing a face mask, do I need a card or badge to prove it?

No, written evidence is not required and you should not be routinely asked to prove your exemption. Some people may feel more comfortable showing an exemption card, badge or home-made sign that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This is a personal choice and you don’t have to do this under the law. The government has provided templates for exemption cards and templates HERE


Coronavirus Updates

Watch, share and download the latest COVID-19 information and guidance available in BSL.

Why SignHealth?

The majority of our 130 staff are Deaf people and our award winning board has been recognised for its diversity and inclusivity. Together we are working to improve health and wellbeing for everyone.

Deaf people continue to face barriers in mainstream health and social care services. Since 1986 we have been providing services to the Deaf community and campaigning for more Deaf-awareness and better access.  

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