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Should I wear a face covering in public places such as shops?

As of 24th July the government have made it mandatory to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets.  AIM understands that for some autistic people this is causing a great deal of anxiety and distress.  We would like to provide some clarity around this.

A face covering does not mean you have to wear a ‘face mask’. You can wear a face mask if you wish, but you may otherwise choose to wear:

A scarf
A bandana
A religious garment
A hand made cloth covering

*All face coverings must securely fit around the sides of the face. See Government guidance:

Due to sensory differences and health anxieties, autistic people may find wearing a face covering very difficult. Government guidelines state that “You do not have to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to”. This includes “not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or disability”.

AIM have liaised with local community police who have reassured us that if an AIM Face Covering Exemption Card is presented by an autistic person, that it will be acknowledged and respected.

If you would like an AIM Face Covering Exemption Card please complete the form on our Contact Us page and we will post one out to you (only one card per household).

Other services which provide guidance and support with face coverings for autistic people and people with disabilities:

Hidden Disabilities (Sunflower Lanyards and Face Covering Exemption Cards) -

Share (free printable face covering exemption cards) -

Keep Safe -