THREAD - Face Covering Regulations: How the UK government instructed supermarkets and major retailers to respond to exemptions. /1
Last year the heads of supermarkets and *major* retailers received a ‘secret’ Cabinet Office document about face covering exemptions /2
An important point to make here is that small independent businesses were NOT given the same details. And neither has the government ever shared it with the public. In fact, they REALLY do not want you to see it. /3
Although I’ve known of this document since September, I previously decided not share it for fear that it would make life even more difficult for people with genuine medical exemptions and disabilities /4
Yet, this week, the government has mounted a fear campaign that has caused widespread confusion and despair for people who are not able to wear a mask. Notably, those with hidden disabilities. It must now be made public /5
As you will see in the document, the Cabinet Office specifically states that some people are not ‘expected’ to wear face coverings for some ‘health’, ‘age’ and ‘equality’ reasons. We knew this already, but now you will know what the Cabinet Office told big retail about this /6
I told a little white lie when I said it was not a 'public' document, it is. It's just you have to look very, very, very hard for it. There is ONE copy on the internet and it seems to have been uploaded by mistake. /7
I am going to post a link to a PDF of it now and I want EVERYONE to download it *right now* before the government makes it disappear. When you download it please drop a message underneath and share with everyone you can /8
Download the document here and then we'll then discuss exactly what it means:

businesswest.co.uk/sites/default/… /9
As you can see, it is a step-by-step guide - written by the Cabinet Office - designed for heads of major retail to brief their staff on how to deal with anyone who walks into a shop without a face covering /10
The first point backs up what's already said on the gov.uk website: "It is not mandatory for an individual to wear a visual cue to outline they are exempt" - which has to make us wonder what the hell the @GOVUK & @Morrisons and @asda are playing at today /11
The second point advises what staff should do if you're not wearing a lanyard. They may offer you a mask or ask you to wear one. I believe this is what @Morrisons and @asda are now going to be doing if you do not 'clearly' look exempt /12
A few people are commenting 'is that is?', my reason for sharing this document is to REASSURE people who are genuinely exempt but are now *terrified* following the government's new fear campaign

But the BIG news about this document concerns points 3 and 4 /13
For the first time we have it on paper - STRAIGHT FROM THE CABINET OFFICE - examples of what shop staff should say to people without masks and how people without masks are expected (or not expected) to reply /14
If shop staff see a person without a face covering AND no lanyard or visual clue, the government suggests that retailers ask "Please can you wear a face covering if you are able to?" /15
The most important points:

"Once an individual has said they are not able to/exempt, you MUST take their word and allow them to continue. A verbal confirmation alone is enough." (cont) /16
"You must NOT ask for proof of their medical exemption and it is not essential they show any form of exemption card at any point" /17
A few people are saying they've seen this. I've been tweeting about masks daily on Twitter for six months and I've *NEVER* seen this document posted, you ungrateful swines. What did you want? Outdoor masks?

I'm going to say more about why the doc is important /18
This document sets out the record - in writing- of how mask exemption for medical reasons is claimed. You should *only* be refused at these new @Morrisons and @asda 'check points' if you say something like "I don't want to".

Print the document and carry it around with you /19
The existence of this document cancels out any threats that the government or supermarkets have made this week because they simply CANNOT lawfully refuse you - under the Regs, the Equality Act 2010 and Data Protection Act 2018 - if you make clear you are medically exempt /20
The main problem is that it hasn't been disseminated to individuals or small businesses - so the government has protected large retailers (by giving specific instruction) but left small businesses at risk of action under the Equality Act /21
Anyone doubting that this document was only shared with select organisations....please read the part that says "Please note charity organisations working with the government have been made aware of this too" /22
A few people saying that some of the wording of that document has been all over Twitter, yes *I* myself have previously shared some over the wording over the past few months...but here it is in black and white, and yes, it's genuine /23
(Those sharing the Business West page, yes! That's the page I shared, if you read back my thread). The fact of the matter is that I know - through other sources - the government did NOT want this document in the public domain.

This is the important part /24 Image
My mission of sharing it was to dilute some of the government's current fear-mongering and give frightened exempt people another doc as ammunition. If you were expecting something else, well, it says more about you and you're not one of the people suffering who I want to help /25
It's also a reminder the supermarkets are not acting totally of their own accord. They're briefed by the Cabinet Office who simply cannot give out written advice that contravenes the Equality Act or the Data Protection Act without first changing those laws. Remember that. /26
There is a HUGE amount of confusion about the face covering regs and exemptions. My hope is that sharing this step-by-step guide helps clear up some confusion and helps people to go about their lives a bit more confidently.

It spells out what *should* happen with exemptions /27
/29 Image
And that's a wrap

Happy shopping! /30
Have just been sent this internal document from Marks and Spencer....up-to-date instruction to staff about face mask exemptions Image
Image

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More from @northerness

12 Jan
Should I release a non-public document this afternoon that the Cabinet Office sent to supermarkets about exemptions?
I obtained the document legally, by the way. And disclosure would be 100% legal.
The government and police are now playing so nasty that I feel it's time.
Read 11 tweets
12 Jan
See how @mailonline is shaming someone wearing a 'Hidden Disabilities' lanyard as part of the government's targeted fear campaign? What do you make of this, @sunflwrlanyards @DisabilityUK ?

(I have edited the photo to protect their privacy)
Hi @AsdaServiceTeam @asda why are you allowing press photographers to harass and target disabled people in your stores? The woman is wearing a sign saying 'Hidden Disabilities'.
If you see a press photographer taking photos of mask exempt people in the supermarket, please take a photo of *them*....we'll create a gallery of people who make their money via the harassment of disabled people.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jan
If you're genuinely being persistently *targeted* and/or harassed on Twitter because you cannot wear a mask and it is having a substantial effect on you, I suggest you report the accounts to your local police force for malicious communication.

This includes 77th Brigade
If somebody is alarming you, for example saying you should not be allowed to shop or exist because of your disability, send them the above screenshot.
This isn't a free speech issue, it's about whether or not someone is oppressing you - and attempting to remove your inalienable right to exist - because of your disability.
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
Matt Hancock says he applauds @Morrisons decision that everyone must wear a mask "unless they clearly have a medical reason".

What does 'clearly' mean, @MattHancock ? 💁‍♀️

#HiddenDisabilities
The worse thing about all this is that small shops will now think they have the right to harass people. Will just avoid them though, don't care if they go out of business if they act like that.
Message to @MattHancock, @Morrisons and discriminatory mask fanatics ⬇️
Read 5 tweets

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