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 Face mask wearing

From Ms. P. Finch

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Observations on face mask wearing

I have just had a outdoor meeting with 8 people (some had travelled far &  work on construction sites / high risk areas) where we had to break the 2 metre rule at certain points due to a constricted site area. 

I was the only person wearing a mask. 

Even with it on, people could hear what I was saying.

According to studies wearing a mask protects other people more than the wearer, so this courtesy was not observed – maybe I should have said something.

Another example

I recently returned from a cross country journey ( family reasons ). 
The local taxis guy didn't wear a mask – I ended up giving him a clean one that I had.

I wore one and opened the window. Taxis drivers are known to be particularly vulnerable, even more so if South Asian, as he was.

Increase in cases

As the cases are rising in Calderdale significantly surely we all have to be more careful. 

In my social circle I  have  a whole mix of responses to wearing or not wearing masks. 

It is really not such a hardship that people make out & any embarrassment can soon be overcome.

It will save lives!!!!!!

From Sara W

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Please be aware that some disability groups are exempt from wearing face masks, so if you see someone shopping or on public transport without a mask please do not respond with aggression/verbal abuse.

Some of us may not look like we have disabilities that would exempt us, so please don't automatically be judgemental in these situations.

Also no-one is required to discuss their disability or other exemption with strangers, so if someone says they're in an exempt group please take their word for it.

To be honest, although I am actually exempt from face mask wearing I am still too afraid to go shopping or use public transport, because I fear people's reactions and being unable to cope with it.

This is just to point out that it is not OK to target abuse or comments at people not wearing masks who may be more vulnerable than you realise.

From Ms. P. Finch

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Thanks Sara, glad to be told that.

Wearing a sunflower lanyard/hidden disabilities may be something some people feel comfortable with?

I agree it is demeaning to have to give reasons. 

Sadly some people will expolit that of course, to get out of wearing masks.

Hidden Disabilities Stores

From Susan Quick

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Those of us who are disabled are exampt from wearing faces masks, however I did buy one and wear it when I went to the Co-op. It was very stressful and I nearly suffocated, however when I took the mask off to breathe  why did a cashier harrass me. She wasn't wearing a mask I have since got a certificate which says I am exempt but I'm very worried about going to the Co-op again.  I would be grateful if the management would tell the staff that those of us who are disabled are not required to wear a mask.  

From Graham Barker

Friday, 31 July 2020

A simple solution if you can't wear a face mask is a face shield or visor. Breathing isn't impeded and they're a better physical barrier than a mask. 

Importantly, they demonstrate to others that you're complying with face covering requirements. You can't blame people for being unable to tell whether someone not wearing a mask is exempted or can't be bot hered.

From Sara W

Friday, 31 July 2020

Graham, for some disability groups a visor type shield is also problematic.

There are various reasons some disability groups are exempt, breathing difficulties being only one.  Some are exempt for reasons of tactile hypersensitivity or poor sensory integration, for example, and may not find a visor any more possible than a mask.

Please, just be considerate. If someone is exempt then they legally are exempt, and they shouldn't be made to feel bad or inconsiderate about it.  Exempt groups are exempt for good reasons, even if an individual doesn't want to tell you what their personal disability reasons are.

I have managed to wear a visor a couple of times, but it interferes too much with my ability to function in public to be practical enough of the time to be able to get my own shopping and get back home on public transport.

Disabilities are many and varied; we just Do Not Know what other people are dealing with at any given time.

From Sara W

Friday, 31 July 2020

Government guidance on face mask wearing.

Scroll down for exemptions, as quoted below:

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
    to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

From Graham Barker

Friday, 31 July 2020

Sara - I half expected a response like this and with respect would suggest that anyone whose health and wellbeing are so severely compromised by even the most benign form of face covering should simply not risk going out in public.

This will sound harsh but I’m going to say it: it’s not all about you. Everybody is suffering badly in this crisis. Apart from all the lives lost, jobs and livelihoods are disappearing fast, education is in chaos, necessary NHS treatments can’t be had, many people haven’t been able to leave their homes or socialise in months, frontline workers are at constant risk. Nobody is untouched.

I’m sorry if you encounter hostility and suspicion when you swan around with n o face covering, but you should not be surprised and you should expect it to get worse. Everybody is fed up, everybody has had enough. Nobody is a special case any longer.

The wisest thing anybody ever said to me is that people don’t judge you by the number of problems you’ve got, but by what you do to overcome them. I’ll leave it at that.

From Sara W

Friday, 31 July 2020

Graham, with all due respect it's clear that you don't know what it's like to have disabilities that can make it difficult to be out in public in the first place, never mind any extras that make it intolerable.

It is unfair on anyone who is struggling to say that using a legal disability accommodation in order to do the things other people do much more easily is "swanning around".  These legal exemptions exist to help people who are struggling.  I struggle, Susan told us all she struggled. There are many others in Hebden Bridge and the upper valleys who struggle.

Please stop making it harder for us.  

There can be a big difference to having an illness that makes it unsafe for us to be exposed to any risk of coronavirus (my GP said my risk is unlikely to be higher, I don't have conditions like diabetes or respiratory problems or major organ malfunctions, I don't even qualify for flu jabs!). I do however have several disabling conditions which I do not have to justify - they are all documented by various agencies - that mean wearing a face mask is not manageable.

Life is hard enough with complex disability needs without facing attack for using legal accommodations granted to special needs groups. 

From Jae Evans

Friday, 31 July 2020

For Graham: I have neurological and sensory disabilities, issues with pain, balance and mobility, cognitive hurdles to over come - is this enough to be going on with? Sometimes housebound for weeks with fatigue - perhaps this isn't enough?

Your pithy attitude and pearls of perceived wisdom regarding the wearing of face coverings - ''If you can't wear them then don't go out!'

Ha.  I'm not even going to discuss how ridiculous they are in the fight against covid: that the majority wearing them do so incorrectly - rendering them useless or more dangerously - counter productive!  Or that you, Graham, and others have ''Had enough!''  You poor sod.

I'm just happy you have the physical and mental capacity to go and do your own shopping whenever you chose to, Graham, because let's face it - if you had to deal with such challenging disabilities and daily struggles all year round: simply to get up in a morning, dress, and travel to the shop - then to be judged by others or abused, quite honestly, Graham, I'd fear for your ability to cope - I really would!

From Paul Weatherhead

Sunday, 2 August 2020

The evidence for the effectiveness of face masks is weak, contradictory and any benefit is likely to be small. These are not sufficient grounds for compelling people to wear a dehumanising soggy rag around their faces. Ms Finch says it will save lives, yet the (grossly exaggerated) Covid-19 death rate is falling and excess deaths are below the 5 year average and have been for some time.

Susan Quick is right to criticise the crass harassment she received at the Co-op. We do not need to account for ourselves to shop assistants nor anyone else. The government regulations say those who are exempt are not required by law to produce documentation.

Mr Barker writes that face masks "demonstrate you're complying with face covering requirements". More than this, they demonstrate supine obedience to a government that clearly doesn't know what it's doing and signals your mute acceptance of a neurotic, misanthropic public health policy.

From Ms. P. Finch

Monday, 3 August 2020

It was never my intention, when starting this thread, that people with disabilities would be put on the spot. Though it has been useful to hear of peoples different experiences.

Re. following very poor government guidelines, as we are finding, it is much better to be guided by our own common sense.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Prime Minister and Michael Martin, Irish president have had way more wisdom and sensitivity in this crazy time.