‘Don’t judge people not wearing a face mask’ councillors urge

Councillors are reminding people to be mindful of those with hidden disabilities who are unable to wear a face mask.

Councillors urge people ‘not to judge’ those without face coverings because of hidden disabilities
Councillors urge people ‘not to judge’ those without face coverings because of hidden disabilities

While coverings became mandatory in shops from August 10 in Northern Ireland there were also exemptions set out by the NI Executive.

These included those who have a physical or mental impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering.

The exemptions also included individuals who would be caused severe distress by wearing them and those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

Councillor Marc Collins said: “Many people, for whatever medical reason, are unable to wear face masks and we all need to be aware of that.

“We can’t presume that every person who isn’t wearing a mask is flouting the rules.

“Mid and East Antrim is a friendly borough for everybody and if somebody is struggling they may have a hidden disability.”

Councillor Matthew Armstrong said: “I would urge everyone to be careful not to judge anyone in shops who are not wearing a face covering.

“There could potentially be many hidden reasons for this and the public should be understanding that others may not have a mask on for that reason.

“Please do not jump to conclusions if you see someone shopping without a face covering as there could be a very important reason as to why.”

Councillor Cheryl Johnston, added: “One of the things we have to be cognisant of as a society is that for some people, a face covering just isn’t a possibility, because of various health conditions.

“So if you see someone who’s on the bus or who is in the shop, who doesn’t have one, perhaps they’ve got an underlying barrier that prevent them from wearing that.

“We have to be kind at all times, and specifically now that if we see someone (not wearing a mask), don’t say, ‘Where’s your face mask?’ – have a little bit of understanding that there may be a specific reason that they’re not wearing it.”


A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you