Brighton & Hove disability charity, Possability People, is appealing to passengers on public transport to show understanding towards people who are exempt from wearing a face covering.
Graeme Trelford-Davies from the charity’s engagement and inclusion project Get Involved Group asked that passengers show empathy towards fellow passengers and did not judge those who could not wear a face covering on the bus.
Exemptions include disabled people, people with long-term health conditions, children under 11 and those with mental health conditions.
Graeme said: “It’s simply about people being supportive of each other. I ask other passengers not to make unkind remarks, stare at, or criticise those who are not wearing a face covering. It can make somebody feel really upset and uncomfortable.
“There are going to be those who have chosen to ignore the guidance – it’s inevitable – but we’d like to believe that they are in a minority. The truth is that we just don’t know every person’s individual circumstances and there are two sides to every story.
“Many more people are exempt than is in the public perception, we feel, and many disabilities are not visible. It’s not always obvious, so please be understanding and kind.”
Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris said there would be passengers who were exempt from wearing a face covering: “I am also appealing for people to treat their fellow passengers with compassion, not judgement. That said, people who are not exempt must wear a face covering, particularly to protect vulnerable people who may not be able to wear one when they travel.”
Martin added that bus drivers did not have to wear a face covering because they were behind a screen but they had to if they needed to leave the drivers’ cab, for example, to help a wheelchair user or a passenger with a pushchair.