Why you might see Tesco, Sainsbury’s and other shoppers wearing sunflower badges


Supermarkets in the UK offer lanyards for customers who cannot wear a face mask due to certain health concerns.Charity Hidden Disabilities said sunflower badges are given to people who may be exempt from the new law because of medical conditions, such as autism or severe anxiety.

This means that if you see a client wearing one, they may have a mitigating circumstance or be the caregiver of someone who, for example, needs to be able to read lips.

Hidden Disabilities said the sunflower loins themselves can be picked up for free at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S and other supermarkets – and you don’t have to provide proof of disability to claim one.

It is an important symbol

The company’s website explains, “Companies that are members of the program are aware of our card and provide support, help, assistance or just a little more time to those who wear the Sunflower Hidden Disabilities.

“However, please note that shops and public transport may still deny you entry if you are not wearing a face mask. ”

Customers can also purchase a sunflower badge online for 55 pence. It’s a one-time charge, but could be crucial for anyone worried about being approached so as not to cover their face in public.

Alternatively, the government distributes exemption certificates for free online, which you can prepare below.

Face mask exemptions – everything you need to know

The government currently says that you are not required to wear blanket if you have “a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability” and would experience “severe distress” because of it.

This includes:

  • If you are traveling with someone who needs lip reading

  • If you are in severe distress when you put it on

  • Have a disability where you can’t put it

  • Or you have to eat, drink or take medicine

  • If you are 11 or under

  • If you are traveling with someone who needs to read lips or read facial expressions

The government also offers free exemption cards

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The government says you will not be asked to present written evidence if you are not wearing a face mask – supermarkets and stores are advised to be careful of those who may have special circumstances.

However, exemption cards and badges are available if you are concerned about being arrested.

This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

You can get a free government exemption card here.


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