Important Update About Face Coverings in Public

It is the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a:

  • bus or coach
  • train or tram
  • ferry or hovercraft or other vessel
  • aircraft
  • cable car

Unfortunately, GPs are not able to provide individual risk assessments or letters for patients who feel they should be exempt from wearing a mask.  The responsibility for issuing exemption whilst travelling lies with the transport provider. For example, Transport for London have produced a self-exemption certificate that patients can access online.  Government advice on use of face coverings is found here:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#face-coverings-on-public-transport

From July 24th people entering shops must wear a face covering. Shopping is not an essential activity and patients who believe they are unable to wear a mask should consider their need to shop. Patients that are vulnerable and unable to wear a mask may wish to consider using the volunteer service for support with their shopping. 

Failure to wear a mask in a shop is a criminal offence and enforcement is the responsibility of the Police. GPs are unable to issue certificates that permit patients to not comply with the law. 

Children under 11, people with disabilities or with breathing difficulties are exempt. There is no definition of what a breathing difficulty is so it will rely on the discretion of the police officer enforcing the law and cannot be predetermined by a GP.

For more information about face coverings, please click on the following link to go to the government website:

Face Coverings

Published: Jul 22, 2020