I'm worried about wearing a face covering, do I have to wear one and when?

As restrictions to prevent the transmission of coronavirus by people self-isolating are eased, the use of face coverings, as a preventative measure to stop virus spread, has been made mandatory on public transport, and in shops in England. There is a fine, up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeated offences, for failure to wear a face covering when required.

You also need to wear a face covering when you are participating in sighted guiding with someone outside your household or support bubble for the whole time you are together. 

Blind and partially sighted people have told us that they find socially distancing more difficult to maintain, and this can cause anxiety. If you can, it might be a good idea to use a face covering whenever you are out of the house, in case other people do get too close.

If you are concerned about wearing a face covering you can find useful information and tips on wearing face coverings with glasses, peripheral vision and dual sensory loss on RNIB's Coronavirus: advice on wearing face coverings when you have sight loss web page. The page also contains information on wearing visors.

If your disability means that you cannot wear one, you are exempt from the requirement. The Government guidance specifies, in particular, an exemption for someone with a visual impairment whose residual vision would be obscured by a face covering. Exemption cards and badges, which you can print off or put on your phone to show other people that you are exempt along with a full list of exemptions can be found on the GOV.UK face coverings web page. 

If you need further advice or support during this time, please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or visit the gov.uk coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages, along with additional information for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

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