These are the people who DON’T have to wear a mask – as York council says ‘cover your face if you can’

Photograph: Dipartimento Protezione Civile on Flickr
24 Jul 2020 @ 8.02 am
| Health

From today (Friday, 24 July) it is mandatory to wear face coverings in shops and other indoor spaces – and City of York Council is encouraging those who can to wear one when out and about to keep others safe.

“There is growing evidence that face coverings help stop the spread of the virus so please wear one if you can,” a council spokesman said.

From Friday, those who don’t wear a face covering can be fined £100 – although North Yorkshire Police say they will only issue fines as a last resort.

The council is also encouraging residents to be mindful that not everyone will be able to wear one, especially as some medical conditions will not be visible.

Exemptions include:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • those unable 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 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
  • 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.

No need for GP letter

Cllr Carol Runciman. Photograph: York Liberal Democrats

Executive member for health and adult social care Cllr Runciman said: “Face coverings, alongside regular hand washing, social distancing and those who have symptoms staying home and getting tested remain the best defence we have against the virus.

“There are some though who are unable to wear a face covering due to conditions which may have which we all need to be mindful and considerate of.

“We appreciate this has caused some uncertainty for those who are exempt. If you have a medical condition that means you are unable to wear a face covering, you do not need a letter from your healthcare professional to prove this.

“You will still be able to enter shops and you will not be fined for not wearing one.”