A face mask is vital in the fight against Covid-19.
“Wearing a facemask is a key step to preventing the ongoing spread of Covid in our community and we would strongly encourage everyone who is able to wear a mask to do so.” BMA-NI.
As your readers will know it is now mandatory to wear a face-covering or facemask when in an enclosed space like a shop. While the vast majority of us are able to do this, we recognise that for a small number of people it is not possible to wear a mask or for whom it would cause great distress.
However, you do not need to get a letter from your GP to say you are exempt from wearing a mask, and we would ask that patients do not approach their GP to ask for such a letter. GPs are extremely busy at the minute dealing with a post-lockdown surge in patients.
The NIdirect website is clear on this stating, ‘There is no need to get a letter from a doctor or the government to show that you do not need to wear a face covering.‘
Anyone who is in the category of being exempt should explain if challenged that they are exempt, and this should be respected. For people who feel they need some ‘proof’ of their exemption, many charities have downloadable resources they can use.
Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation both have resources on their website and the Mind website also provides useful tips for those who feel anxious about wearing a mask. For those with hidden disabilities they can also apply for a Sunflower lanyard.
Wearing a facemask is a key step to preventing the ongoing spread of Covid in our community and we would strongly encourage everyone who is able to wear a mask to do so.
Dr Alan Stout,
(BMA-NI GP Committee chair.)