With new rules in place requiring the wearing of masks on public transport, and other areas, a list of exemptions has been made, for those who cannot wear them, or find it exceptionally difficult to conduct normal life if they are wearing them.

Exemptions – people who do not have to wear a face covering

The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to:

  • a child under the age of 11
  • (and others, eg professionals working in a transport environment)

You also do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to. This includes:

  • if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
  • if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard

The full list of exemptions, and the rest of the guidance around face coverings can be found on the Gov.uk website.


Keepsafe, a charity working with people with learning disabilities, has created posters for people with learning disabilities, explaining the new rules around masks.  You can download them on the Keepsafe website, along with parent and child cards, that can be shown to people questioning why someone is not wearing a mask.


There is also additional information on the Government’s advice around PPE in Care Homes, relating to the care of people with learning disabilities and autism. You can find that on the Government’s website, updated on 15 June.