Face Mask Exemptions

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has issued a set of guidelines on the use of face masks outside the home and in public areas which include exemptions or specific age groups. The Committee explained that the new guidelines take into account the exceptional situations of some groups of people including children and those with chronic respiratory conditions. All members of the community must wear face masks outside their homes at all times, but there are exemptions for children under six, people with cognitive, intellectual or sensory disorders or any impairments that hamper their ability to breathe or communicate, and for those for whom masks can lead to sensory triggering. (This should be confirmed by a medical report.) There are also exemptions for Individuals who require supplemental oxygen or have severe respiratory conditions, who cannot breathe safely or have difficulty breathing with a mask but this also needs to be confirmed by a medical report. The Committee has also decided the public can remove face masks temporarily outside the home when driving a car alone or in the presence of members of the same household, or while eating or drinking in indoor and outdoor settings, for example in restaurants but the public must however maintain physical distance with others. They can also do this when engaged in strenuous indoor and outdoor exercise or high intensity workouts, as this may exacerbate known or unknown health conditions. Again physical distancing must be observed at all times. They can also do this if they are alone with no people around, e.g., in a private office or if the risks associated with wearing the face mask outweigh the benefits, for example if they are swimming or skydiving. Other exemptions include while undergoing specific treatments that require removal of masks, such as dental work or eye, nose, and throat examinations, and other related treatments or examinations including those involving hair and beauty. The Committee has stressed on the need for parents and guardians of the exempt groups to ensure a minimum physical distance of two metres from others. The Committee emphasised that face masks can be removed only under the conditions outlined in the guidelines and reiterated the importance of physical distancing. The new guidelines have been developed following the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre’s latest assessment of global developments on the pandemic and an assessment of the local situation. Full story

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