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Attention all Shoppers!

A message to all shops. Please circulate. The mask regulations have not been published but will contain exemptions for those with a disability or for whom masks cause ‘serious distress’. If you refuse entry to disabled ppl you are prima facie liable to them under the Equality Act.

Any person refusing a service or to sell a product to a disabled person by reason of their disability is liable to that person unless they have a statutory defence.

That they haven’t told you is unlikely to be a defence. By the nature of their disability, some with depression (etc) will be reluctant to tell you about it. Indeed, being asked is in itself likely to exacerbate their symptoms.

It is also a symptom of depression, dementia and other conditions that sufferers are disorganised and forgetful, meaning they’d be likely to forget any medical certificate.

This is all highly foreseeable. So any policy requiring a medical certificate to be shown is likely to be indirectly discriminatory on some disabled and other people; and is unlikely to provide a shop with a statutory defence.

The only way a shop can avoid the risk of many expensive law suits is to order its staff not in any circumstances to ask why a person is not wearing a mask and not to bar entry if they aren’t.

The regulations, we have been told, will not impose liability on shops for persons not wearing masks. Moreover, there is a statistically zero risk of a person proving where he or she was infected; & a shop could not realistically be found liable for an infection even if s/he cld.

The fact that medical certificates are rare and may not be able to be obtained is an obvious and important consideration for shops when deciding on their policy; and increases the chance of a requirement to show one being discriminatory.

@waitrose @jlandpartners @coopuk @Safeway @sainsburys @Tescos @Watersontes @Debenhams @BootsUK @marksandspencer @asda @morrisons @Safeway

Courtesy of tweets made by Francis Hoar on Twitter @Francis_Hoar

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