Face Mask Exemption Cards… After weeks of uncertainty during the early summer regarding the UK Government’s position on the use of face coverings, on Friday 24th July, face masks became mandatory for people visiting shops.
The Government guidance issued in July was concise. It was recognised from the outset, people with breathing problems such as Asthma, COPD and other hidden disabilities, would be unable to wear a face covering.
Whilst met with criticism from sceptics, we believe the Government’s decision to allow people to self declare themselves as exempt, provided they have a condition was the right thing to do. After all, we live in a democracy. Trust, belief and transparency should be valued.
a1 Sovereign helping elderly and vulnerable people
We liked that the Government had designed a template “face mask exemption card” which could be downloaded to a smart phone to show as required, or for people to print at home.
However, there was one thing missing, in our opinion. Many of the people with medical exemptions are elderly and vulnerable. Lots of these people do not have a smart phone and many elderly people are rightly apprehensive about getting their mobile phone out when in public, for fear of it being stolen.
Similarly, there are more elderly and vulnerable people who do not have the facility to print and laminate a card at home, or find something safe to attach such a card to.
As a digital printer, regularly producing large quantities of laminated cards with lanyards for our FMCG and Event clients, we decided to step up to the plate.
a1 Sovereign Face Mask Exemption Lanyard was launched on 24th July
So on 24th July, we launched a low cost, ready to wear card and lanyard. Initially offered as just a black lanyard with the blue & white card as pictured above.
Within six weeks, demand from elderly and vulnerable people with medical exemption reasons had soared and we were posting hundreds of cards and lanyards each day. By this time we had extended our lanyard offering to ten colours. We also offered the choice of blue on a white background, or white on a blue background cards. Also the option to display a medical condition.
Our Face Covering Exemption cards are 110mm x 80mm (just over 4 x 3 inches) which proved popular, as legible from a good distance. Especially important, as keeping distance has been a cornerstone of the Government’s message throughout the pandemic! The exemption cards are digitally printed on matt board, fully encapsulated then eyeletted. The lanyards are 20mm wide and feature a metal clip and plastic safety break.
Protecting people against vigilante "face mask police"
Not many days passed during the Autumn of 2020, where the wasn’t a story in the press of a vulnerable person being confronted and abused by the so called Face Mask police. Individuals on their own agenda, with little knowledge of the Government guidance, taking the law into their own hands against those not wearing a face covering.
Whilst it was satisfying to have created a solution that ticked all the boxes of “right product, right time, right price”, the most rewarding aspect of what we’d done, was reading customer feedback emails and comments.
Our solution enabled many elderly and vulnerable people to be out in public, confidently going shopping again whilst socially distancing, without fear of being confronted for not wearing a face mask.
Time has proven the point and it’s safe to say that the vast majority of unwanted approach, confrontation and abuse will be circumvented, by a person with a genuine medical exemption wearing a bright coloured lanyard and card around their neck. Because the self-appointed “mask police” are actually just bullies looking for soft targets. They’re not up for a situation which may backfire and make them look more stupid than they already do!
All our Face Mask Exemption Cards and Lanyards are available in our webshop. Hopefully you’ve found this blog of interest – please feel free to leave your comments/feedback. Also, have a look at what we do and get in touch if our services may be of interest. Meanwhile, please stay safe. We’re all in this together.