End the mandatory wearing of face masks for travel

by Jen & Miray

End the mandatory wearing of face masks for travel

by Jen & Miray
Jen & Miray
Case Owner
We believe people should have a choice to wear a face mask or not. Disabled people and their families/carers fear being challenged for not wearing a face mask on public transport.
16
days to go
£3,035
pledged of £4,000 stretch target from 182 pledges
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Jen & Miray
Case Owner
We believe people should have a choice to wear a face mask or not. Disabled people and their families/carers fear being challenged for not wearing a face mask on public transport.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: July 30, 2020

Grounds for pre-action letter.

Dear Supporters,   
We are truly thankful that there are people like you out there helping to make a difference.

Great news! Because of your very kind donations, we've now received advic…

Read more

We are crowdfunding to raise funds to investigate whether there are grounds to challenge the Government’s decision on the mandatory wearing of face masks for travel.  The Government gave little warning to the new measures being introduced via emergency procedures and without proper parliamentary debate or consultation meaning the voices of disabled people, people with learning disabilities and autistic people were not heard.

Whilst we acknowledge there are some exceptions to these regulations, a new survey by Disability Rights UK found that 'disabled people are frightened about travelling due to a lack of public awareness and clarity about exemptions to the mandatory need to wear face coverings on public transport'.  'Nearly 40% of respondents said that they cannot wear a face covering and fear being challenged because they cannot wear a face mask due to their disability'.

Disability Rights UK has been hearing that members of the public have been calling the police on disabled people for not wearing masks while on trains, and British Transport Police refusing to let people through station barriers without face coverings, even when they have insisted they have an impairment which makes them exempt. This is shocking and unacceptable.
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2020/june/40-fear-challenge-without-face-masks-dr-uk-survey

Who we are

Hi, I’m Jen, autistic. I can’t stand my face being covered and find it an intolerable sensation. I don't like my glasses steaming up or my ears being pulled on. It’s not a feeling I'm happy to subject myself to every day when I have enough going on as it is, as a single mother of two autistic girls. I am at 110% stress every day and the enforcement of wearing a mask is hard to bear. Then again I don't need to be collared by staff / British Transport Police for not having one. Moreover, I can't understand what's being said to me by people with their mouths covered. I'm having to stare at eyes a lot more to figure out how the person is feeling / what they're communicating, and I find that very uncomfortable because I don't like looking at eyes, it feels dangerous. Whilst I do not claim to represent everyone who is autistic, many autistic people and their carers may be in the conundrum to be unable to wear the mask or adhere to the rules because it raises their anxiety, but also afraid of confrontation. This therefore is discriminatory and places autistic people at a disadvantage compared to other groups.

Hello, I’m Miray and mum to two daughters. My eldest, Jessica, has a rare neurological disorder, Angelman Syndrome. I've already witnessed people being refused entry to the tube station on the first day these measures came in simply because English was not their first language and they did not realise the changes. This leaves me deeply concerned for disabled people who may not be able to clearly communicate or clarify their exemption.  My daughter, Jessica is wholly reliant on facial cues for expression and understanding.  Jessica can communicate by pulling hair or grabbing and would grab my face if I wore a mask which could be dangerous and is a barrier to our communication and connection. It impacts on my breathing and more so when Jessica requires physical assistance, which is most of the time.  
I also need to be able to see the gaps on the buses and tubes without restriction, to help Jessica embark/disembark safely and avoid holding up other passengers.
   

Call to action
You can help in two ways:
1) Please donate if you can afford to, if 2000 people donated £1 we would be able to start to take advice and action.

2) Please share this page with your friends, family, networks and spread the word on facebook, twitter or any other social media platforms.

How much we are raising and what is the next step in the case?
We are crowdfunding to raise our initial target of £2,000 to cover the costs of taking legal advice to allow us to investigate grounds. If we raise £2,000 then we can set an initial stretch target of £3,500 to allow us to write to the government, if there are grounds to do so, to explain why we say their actions are unlawful, and to get our lawyers’ advice on the government’s response and whether there are grounds to apply for a judicial review.

We are instructing Anne-Marie Irwin of Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP and Steve Broach of 39 Essex Chambers.

What are we trying to achieve?
We are very alarmed at the way the government has failed to include the voices of disabled people and follow correct debate without scrutiny. We consider this decision to be discriminatory. We hope this campaign will lead the government to end the mandatory wearing of face masks for travel.

Fazilet Hadi, Disability Rights UK Head of Policy said: “Releasing information on a Sunday for a Monday morning start, with no awareness campaign, no posters on buses and trains to provide reassurance about exemptions, and guidance hidden deep on the gov.uk website leads to the kind of horror stories we have been hearing from disabled people..." https://welfareweekly.com/coronavirus-disabled-people-fear-becoming-victims-of-hate-crime-as-40-say-they-cannot-wear-face-masks/

There is still much debate as to whether wearing masks actually can protect people from the transmission of disease.  A row has even erupted among scientists over a new report from a multidisciplinary group convened by the Royal Society called Delve – Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics into the use of face masks by the general public as an approach to managing the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

Dr Antonio Lazzarino of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London says, “That is not a piece of research.  That is a non-systematic review of anecdotal and non-clinical studies,”

Dr Ben Killingley, consultant in acute medicine and infectious diseases at University College London hospital, said, “The report is overly optimistic about the value of face coverings and it is incorrect to conclude that the evidence shows that face covering can reduce viral transmission in the community.”  “There is in fact no good evidence that face coverings achieve this”.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said the report “falls short of delivering new evidence and too casually dismisses precautionary principle when addressing the possibility that masks and coverings could have negative effects on people’s behaviours”..
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/scientists-disagree-over-face-masks-effect-on-covid-19

There needs to be urgent changes to ensure the training of transport staff to allow those who cannot wear a mask to travel without questioning or harassment. There is also the need for clear signage on all transport to reassure the public that not everybody will be able to wear a face covering. If the correct procedures had been followed and properly debated, these problems could have been avoided or at best, scrapped.   

End the mandatory wearing of face masks for travel.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.   

Please share far and wide and donate if you can.  

Recent contributions

  • Leonora pledged £5
    Match Leonora's pledge of £5
    I wish I could afford to pledge more. This subject is close to my heart, as the mother of two children with special needs, who rely largely on lip reading and facial expression for communication. Wearing a mask should be personal choice, especially as the science is not at all settled. Godspeed x
  • Emily pledged £10
    Match Emily's pledge of £10
    Thank you for taking action on this. I think this needs to happen for shops too, the legal enforcement of mask wearing in any setting is just wrong, for all the reasons you have highlighted. Thanks you again and good luck. Emily
  • Someone pledged £10
    Match their pledge of £10
    Thank you for taking this action. Mask wearing is just another infringement of our civil liberties and offers far less benefit compared to what our immune systems can do unaided. Just more fear porn for a gullible public to submit to.

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Update 4

Jen & Miray

July 30, 2020

Grounds for pre-action letter.

Dear Supporters,   
We are truly thankful that there are people like you out there helping to make a difference.

Great news! Because of your very kind donations, we've now received advice from our legal team who’ve advised that there are grounds to send a pre-action letter before claim setting out our proposed grounds for challenging both sets of Regulations, which require the use of face coverings on public transport and in shops, unless a person has a reasonable excuse.

We will argue that the Regulations discriminate against disabled people; that it was unreasonable for the government to use an emergency procedure to make the Regulations; that the government should have consulted prior to making the Regulations and that the government acted in breach of the public sector equality duty by making the Regulations in this way.

We are primarily concerned that the voices of disabled people were not heard in the decision making process when the Regulations were made. We continue to read reports of disabled people being stigmatised for not wearing masks, and disabled people struggling to wear masks because they’re not aware that the exemption applies to them.

We need to continue to raise funds and increase our stretch target for the preparation and sending of the letter before claim which will advise on the government’s response and whether there are grounds to apply for judicial review at that stage. We very much appreciate if you can help us by continuing to share and support this campaign.

Thank You!

Miray and Jen


Update 3

Jen & Miray

July 15, 2020

The ball is rolling.

Our wholehearted thanks to you all for your kind and generous donations.  You have helped us arrive at our initial target and the ball is rolling to begin our initial advice which we hope to update you with this weekend.

The transport regulations were introduced on 15 June.   This has been a struggle for some people and preventing many from travelling for fear of confrontation from others.  Now we have heard there are also shop regulations to come into force on 24 July.  This is deflating news and undoubtedly will affect even more people.  

Our lawyers are seeking expert advice on our grounds to challenge these rulings.  They will also touch on the shop regulations in this initial advice.  We hope to update you by the weekend as to the outcomes and whether we will need to begin judicial review.

Please keep sharing our campaign to keep the ball rolling to our stretch target.   

Thank you again for your wonderful support.  

Update 2

Jen & Miray

July 1, 2020

Sadiq Khan calls for ‘compulsory’ face masks in London

Face masks other than on public transport aren’t mandatory at this stage, so it is alarming to see the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan urging the government to force people to wear face masks in shops and other confined public spaces. https://www.cityam.com/sadiq-khan-urges-pm-to-make-face-masks-compulsory-in-shops-as-well-as-public-transport/

Our legal team have confirmed they will also give consideration to whether this enforcement of masks in public places would be lawful.

We are so grateful for your continued support and ask if you can please keep sharing to help us reach our target.  Thank you!

Update 1

Jen & Miray

June 28, 2020

Thank you for supporting our case.

We want to start by saying a huge thank you to all of you who have donated to support this case and/or shared it with your friends and networks.  We're almost halfway to our initial target, which is amazing and will bringing us a step closer to accessing legal advice.

Please continue sharing our page to help us reach £2,000.   

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