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Mountain Goat
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13 Sep 2020, 7:32 am

Tomorrow they are said to be compulsary with fines if we don't wear them. I do not know what to do.



Teach51
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13 Sep 2020, 7:45 am

I really sympathize, I just came back from a taxi ride with a mask on and got really dizzy and nauseous. It is difficult to breathe with the mask on.
In my country we can walk outside without a mask if we are exercising. Indoors it is compulsory. I pull my mask up if I pass someone on the street otherwise its not on my face outdoors.


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Lunella
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13 Sep 2020, 9:07 am

I don't know where you live but here in the UK we can go to any old pharmacy and they give out exemption forms with a little stamp and signature on. I know of a few people with sensory issues that have them.

I got one myself because these masks really aren't easy to cope with. Maybe see if anywhere does that near you?

The rules here are you have to wear a mask unless you are exempt.


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Mountain Goat
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13 Sep 2020, 9:24 am

Lunella wrote:
I don't know where you live but here in the UK we can go to any old pharmacy and they give out exemption forms with a little stamp and signature on. I know of a few people with sensory issues that have them.

I got one myself because these masks really aren't easy to cope with. Maybe see if anywhere does that near you?

The rules here are you have to wear a mask unless you are exempt.


Yes I am in the UK. How do I become exempt?



Jiheisho
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13 Sep 2020, 2:44 pm

Can you train yourself at home to become more accustom to one? When I first started wearing one, it was hard, but it is becoming easier. And the mask shape can be important. Perhaps just sit wearing one for increasing periods of time.

The downside of not wearing a mask is increase risk to COVID and perhaps aggression of others around you. Neither are particularly nice.



Sandpiper
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14 Sep 2020, 8:45 am

Mountain Goat wrote:
How do I become exempt?


If you were in England all you would need to do is say you are. Theoretically it should be the same in Wales but the Welsh Government have included some unfortunate wording in their regulations which is decidedly unhelpful.

The section entitled, "How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?" contains the following, "We advise people to carry information if possible which demonstrates why they have a reasonable excuse (for example a prescription or evidence such as a hospital appointment letter relating to a medical condition)". Whilst there is no legal requirement to carry such evidence the advice to do so could cause problems in some circumstances where shop workers or transport officials decide that it gives them the right to demand proof.

In your situation I think I would proceed as follows*.

Firstly, it is clear from your postings on this website that you face a number of challenges in your life, which are lifelong, and have a significant impact on your day to day living. Even without any official diagnosis I'm pretty sure that would qualify as a disability under the UK Equality Act which states, "You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities". As I understand it there is no requirement to actually be diagnosed with anything.

So were I in your situation I would consider myself to be disabled.

To advertise this I would use either a Sunflower Lanyard or one of the "Orange Wallets" from the scheme set up by Transport for Wales, or possibly both depending on the situation.

For the Sunflower Lanyard I would obtain one of the "Face Covering Exempt" cards sold by Hidden Disabilities and ensure it is prominently displayed.

I would also email Transport for Wales and request one of their Orange Wallets (see links below), explaining that I cannot wear a face covering due to severe sensory difficulties. There is a link on the TfW website where you can download a printable card you can put into the wallet. Unfortunately one side of the card says, "I am autistic", so if I wasn't officially diagnosed I would not display this side of the card. The other side of the card says, "Wearing a mask can cause sensory difficulties that may lead to distress". This is entirely true in your case so I would display this side of the card in the wallet.

I would also do a couple of other things. Firstly I would have a careful think about what I would say by way of explanation if I got into a confrontational situation and, worse case scenario, if the police were involved. I would probably write my thoughts down in a notebook which was easily accessible in any difficult situation.

As for shop workers or transport officials I would politely explain that the reason for my exemption was personal and not something that I would be prepared to discuss with them. I would however be fully prepared to explain my circumstances to the police if necessary, being completely honest with them and pointing out the relevant section from the UK Equalities Act, provided there was a private space in which to do so.

As a last resort I would make sure that I was carrying something that I could use as a face covering if I really really had to, such as if a police officer was ordering me to cover my face. It would need to be something that was tolerable for long enough to get me out of the current situation without causing me to hyperventilate or meltdown. I would use some sort of scarf, buff or snood that I could quickly pull up or down over my face.

UK Equalities Act definition of disability - https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

Hidden Disabilities website - https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/

Transport for Wales Orange Wallet Scheme - https://tfwrail.wales/before-your-journey/accessible-travel/initiatives/orange-wallet-scheme

Transport for Wales exemption cards - https://tfwrail.wales/sites/tfwrail.wales/files/2020-08/Orange%20Wallet%20Print_Face%20Covering%20Inserts%202020.pdf

* This is not in any way legal advice since I am not qualified to offer such. It is just my opinion as someone who lives in England and cannot wear a face covering.


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Mountain Goat
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14 Sep 2020, 4:56 pm

Sorry. Not read the last few replies yet. I will do shortly.

Update. I am soo relieved. My local autism team have emailed me an exemption letter. I am soo relieved.

If I could wear a mask I would as the last thing I want is to draw attention to myself, but while if I use a thin material which is actually a bicycle neck warmer with a draw string (Took me years to find one I could use) and it can be worn over my face, I found that I can't cover my nose. I tried and tried it but it was just too much and I had to take it off after a few seconds having shortness of breath and I was in the fringes of a partial shutdown. I was struggling enough to cover my mouth. I don't know why I am finding this difficult. It is such a relief to have the exemption, though if I can I will try to cover my mouth (Though I may need to resort to get staff to fetch me what I need so I do not have to go in? That may be the answer?)


The main concern I have.... though I try not to go in shops as I find I can only do the smaller shops as I can't face queues and long narrow isles as I risk getting shutdowns, but the issue I have is that I need to explain to those in a shop before I go in because if someone calls me out and challenges me I may not be able to explain myself if I go into the deeper end of a partial shutdown. So I need to ensure I don't risk putting myself in a difficult position.

I only go in shops when I have to. A concern I have is toilets. These I use. I tend to half plan routes so I can find a place to go. Toilets were the public places that concerned me the most as well as garages where I buy fuel for my car.

Anyway. I will now read the replies. Thank you soo much for replying. I will read!



Mountain Goat
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14 Sep 2020, 5:19 pm

Jiheisho wrote:
Can you train yourself at home to become more accustom to one? When I first started wearing one, it was hard, but it is becoming easier. And the mask shape can be important. Perhaps just sit wearing one for increasing periods of time.

The downside of not wearing a mask is increase risk to COVID and perhaps aggression of others around you. Neither are particularly nice.


I was trying that. I tried a few different masks and even thinned the material. I was finding I would either not breathe, or I was panicking while shallow breathing and I had to take it off after only a short time. I got my cycling neck and face warmer thing which took me years to find something I can get on with when winter riding, but though it is a thin loose fitting thing with a draw string to hold it up, I could not do it for long and that was just covering my mouth. I could not cover my nose as well. (I can cover my mouth on very cold winters mornings while descending at speed, but not for long. I was using it to keep my neck warm rather then my face).

It is a similar thing that I just have never been able to wear a facemask when I have been swimming, and I can't wear full faced motorbike helmets. Why I never bothered getting a motorbike. I had a little moped but even the open faced helmet I found I could not wear it for long.



alex
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14 Sep 2020, 5:32 pm

You’re only required to wear a mask when you’re indoors with others or outdoors and can’t maintain a meter of distance


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Mountain Goat
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14 Sep 2020, 5:35 pm

Sandpiper wrote:
Mountain Goat wrote:
How do I become exempt?


If you were in England all you would need to do is say you are. Theoretically it should be the same in Wales but the Welsh Government have included some unfortunate wording in their regulations which is decidedly unhelpful.

The section entitled, "How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?" contains the following, "We advise people to carry information if possible which demonstrates why they have a reasonable excuse (for example a prescription or evidence such as a hospital appointment letter relating to a medical condition)". Whilst there is no legal requirement to carry such evidence the advice to do so could cause problems in some circumstances where shop workers or transport officials decide that it gives them the right to demand proof.

In your situation I think I would proceed as follows*.

Firstly, it is clear from your postings on this website that you face a number of challenges in your life, which are lifelong, and have a significant impact on your day to day living. Even without any official diagnosis I'm pretty sure that would qualify as a disability under the UK Equality Act which states, "You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities". As I understand it there is no requirement to actually be diagnosed with anything.

So were I in your situation I would consider myself to be disabled.

To advertise this I would use either a Sunflower Lanyard or one of the "Orange Wallets" from the scheme set up by Transport for Wales, or possibly both depending on the situation.

For the Sunflower Lanyard I would obtain one of the "Face Covering Exempt" cards sold by Hidden Disabilities and ensure it is prominently displayed.

I would also email Transport for Wales and request one of their Orange Wallets (see links below), explaining that I cannot wear a face covering due to severe sensory difficulties. There is a link on the TfW website where you can download a printable card you can put into the wallet. Unfortunately one side of the card says, "I am autistic", so if I wasn't officially diagnosed I would not display this side of the card. The other side of the card says, "Wearing a mask can cause sensory difficulties that may lead to distress". This is entirely true in your case so I would display this side of the card in the wallet.

I would also do a couple of other things. Firstly I would have a careful think about what I would say by way of explanation if I got into a confrontational situation and, worse case scenario, if the police were involved. I would probably write my thoughts down in a notebook which was easily accessible in any difficult situation.

As for shop workers or transport officials I would politely explain that the reason for my exemption was personal and not something that I would be prepared to discuss with them. I would however be fully prepared to explain my circumstances to the police if necessary, being completely honest with them and pointing out the relevant section from the UK Equalities Act, provided there was a private space in which to do so.

As a last resort I would make sure that I was carrying something that I could use as a face covering if I really really had to, such as if a police officer was ordering me to cover my face. It would need to be something that was tolerable for long enough to get me out of the current situation without causing me to hyperventilate or meltdown. I would use some sort of scarf, buff or snood that I could quickly pull up or down over my face.

UK Equalities Act definition of disability - https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

Hidden Disabilities website - https://hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/

Transport for Wales Orange Wallet Scheme - https://tfwrail.wales/before-your-journey/accessible-travel/initiatives/orange-wallet-scheme

Transport for Wales exemption cards - https://tfwrail.wales/sites/tfwrail.wales/files/2020-08/Orange%20Wallet%20Print_Face%20Covering%20Inserts%202020.pdf

* This is not in any way legal advice since I am not qualified to offer such. It is just my opinion as someone who lives in England and cannot wear a face covering.


Thank you. This morning I phoned my doctors surgery to re-order medication and ask about the facemask situation. She said doctors are not allowed to exemption letters and I had to download one off the Government site. I did not find this but I did find the bit you just showed me, which had me worried as officially at the moment I have no diagnosis.

I am really really glad and relieved that it is now sorted.



Mountain Goat
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14 Sep 2020, 5:52 pm

alex wrote:
You’re only required to wear a mask when you’re indoors with others or outdoors and can’t maintain a meter of distance

Two metres here. Yes. Indoors only. Today is the first day we have to wear them. Fortunately my Mum usually goes in most shops, but I still need to go in garages for car fuel and sometimes my Mum may be tired..
Towards the end of last week, I came soo close to having a full shutdown in a shop... And that was before the facemask rule came in. Mum was too tired to go in so I nipped in and did not realize there was a queue.

A few years ago I used to be able to do more and had less issues. I won't say I had no issues, but they were no where near as bad as this. It is since I hit the last few burnouts that I have had these issues, and the one way shop systems since covid have made things much worse, as if I wanted to avoid the stress of the queue, I used to keep walking round and round the shop to distract me until the queue went down but since covid I can't do that
. Mind you, some large shops were causing me issues before and I even worked in shops, though bicycle shops which tended to be not so claustrophobic.
Also shops that sent me into shutdown mode due to smells I had issues. (Never put two and two together until I came on this site). I can't believe how many years I had had these issues and not joined the dots to work out what was going on! I would have never had worked it out before joining here, though I realized that my shutdown experinces were somehow similar to meltdowns. How was I so thick not to work it out?

It is why I am so greatful to everyone here who has helped.



B.Sisko
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14 Sep 2020, 7:51 pm

Maybe you could opt for the special breathable masks - NOT :mrgreen:

Image


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Mountain Goat
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14 Sep 2020, 8:12 pm

They sold a few of them from the looks of it. I do not know if I could wear one or not. I would not wear a pink one though. It would need to be blue.



Lunella
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14 Sep 2020, 9:43 pm

I'm glad you got the exemption form!

I forgot you made a thread about it, I was just answering on PMs instead sorry, haha

But yeah no one will question you with one of those forms, and if you think you're really vulnerable you can print out a "I am exempt from wearing a mask", laminate it and put it on a lanyard, if they ask to see proof then you have it :D


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Sandpiper
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15 Sep 2020, 9:47 am

Good to hear you are sorted. What a good response from your local autism team.


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Mountain Goat
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15 Sep 2020, 2:10 pm

Yes. They are brilliant and excellent.