Sam Exall has started a petition asking the government to increase awareness on mask exception for carers. This is after a number of carers looking after children with disabilities were picked on and harassed by members of the public for not wearing masks in public spaces. Since there is little information out there on mask exception for carers, we don’t expect the society to act otherwise. And with the fear of covid-19 rising to alarming levels, it is important for the government to increase awareness on the exception for carers to be wearing masks while n public spaces.
Parents such as Sam Exall who has an autistic daughter and is exempt from wearing a mask in public as it can scare her and prevent easy communication. And although it is recommended that you leave children at home during this pandemic, there are a few circumstances where you will be forced to venture out with children with special needs. For example, you may want to go shopping but you have no one to leave your child with. Similarly, we know that autistic children require medical care from time to time and thus, you have to take them to the health center.
Unfortunately, members of the public are not aware of the law exempting carers from wearing masks while in public spaces. They therefore end up abusing and victimizing parents who are out with their autistic children but are not wearing masks. This is largely because of lack of awareness on this law. Should the UK government increase awareness
on mask exception, the public will be accommodating to the parents of children with special needs. And in such a scenario, parents such as Samuel Exall would feel free to go out with their children without getting harassed for not wearing masks.
Sam Exall is hence petitioning the government to launch a campaign to bring awareness to this exception so that people who take care of others with disabilities are not in fear of entering public spaces just because they are not wearing a mask.
Who are exempt from wearing facemasks?
It is now compulsory to wear face covering when in shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, post offices, as well as when traveling in a bus, ferry, plane and train. It is also recommended to wear face masks in all other public areas where social distancing is not possible.
Facemasks are important for they stop the spread of coronavirus through the air. The coverings also prevent those who are infected from passing the disease onto others by blocking droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. However, there are some groups of people who are exempt from wearing facemask. This includes carers of people suffering from the following conditions:
• Autism and other learning disabilities
• Disabled persons
• Breathing and other lung conditions
• Children under 11 years of age
• Physical or mental illness
• Severe distress
• Supporting people who depend on lip reading
• When eating, drinking or taking medication
Get an exception card
If you are taking care of a person with the above conditions, you need to get a card showing that you are exempt from wearing a face mask while in public space. The card comes in the form of a mobile phone badge, printed card or a badge. If you have the above conditions or are an aid to persons with the conditions, you can get the mask exception card. However, you need to not that the exception card is:
• A personal choice and not a necessity in the law
• If you have a health, age or disability related condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask, you are not required to produce written evidence of the same.
Why the government should increase awareness on mask exception for carers
As Samuel Exall stated in his petition, there is a need for the government to increase awareness on mask exception for carers. This is because of the following reasons:
Many people are ignorant
Many people are not aware of the exception on wearing masks for carers. As a result, many carers have found themselves being victimized for not wearing a mask in public places. If the government increased awareness on the subject, this victimization would end.
Will help distinguish carers
Increasing awareness on mask exception for carers will help make members of the public identify carers. With the awareness, everyone will know the type of tags that carers wear. This will help in distinguishing their looks so that they can easily be identified in the public without the drama that we have recently witnessed.
Notify unaware carers so that they can benefit
As we said above, there are many carers around the UK who are not even aware of the law excepting them from wearing masks while in public spaces. As a result, these carers wear the mask but suffer the inconveniences that come with it. For example, they are not able to communicate with the sick persons as effectively as they would when not wearing a mask. And for the case of the carers taking care of autistic children, the child may get scared b the mask.
If the government increased awareness on mask exception for carers, these people would know that they are not required to wear one from the start.
Eliminate fear in carers
If the public is made aware that carers are not required to wear a mask, carers would not. Fear going out with the persons they care for without wearing a mask.
Create social cohesion and understanding
If everyone is made aware on the mask exception for carers, the society will live in cohesion and peace. This is because there would not be any victimization of carers who are out to shopping malls without mask.
Carers are amongst people exempted from wearing face masks. However, there is no public awareness to such and as a result, most of them have been harassed on shopping malls and other public places for not wearing one. That is why Samuel Exall is petitioning the government to increase awareness on mask exception for carers.