COVID-19 - Advice for people who are unable to wear a face covering

We know face coverings are unsuitable for some people due to a disability or health condition.

An exemption card has been developed that you can show to transport operators, retailers and service providers.

Exemption cards are not mandatory but make it easier whenever you need to explain that a face covering is unsuitable for you.

Requesting an exemption card

You should request an exemption card only if you have a disability or health condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable.

You can request an exemption card from the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ by contacting them on 04 801 9100 or emailing them at [email protected].

Blind Citizens NZ is available for blind, deafblind, low vision, and vision-impaired people. Contact [email protected] or 0800 222 694. Visit the Blind Citizens NZ website.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact Deaf Aotearoa at [email protected]

People with dementia can contact their local Alzheimers and Dementia organisation.

When asked

Sometimes the reason why a face covering is unsuitable for you is not obvious to others. Try not to be overly concerned if a business owner or employee approaches you to ask whether you are able to wear a face covering. They will be focused on ensuring the safety of you and others.

While it is inappropriate for a business owner or employee to enquire about the nature of your disability or condition, it’s reasonable for them to check whether you are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering.

Other hygiene and safe practices

If wearing a face covering is unsuitable for you due to a disability or health condition, it’s especially important that you are vigilant in your other hygiene and safety practices when in public and while accessing businesses and services.

Stay home if you’re sick. When out and about keep your distance from other people, wash your hands often, sneeze and cough into your elbow, and keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen, either through the NZ COVID Tracer App or in some other way.

Consider if there are delivery or click-and-collect options you could use instead of entering a retail store. ID-19 Public

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