PEOPLE who are exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport can now apply for a card to show to bus drivers and other passengers.

Brighton and Hove Buses and Metrobus have introduced the Helping Hand yellow card scheme for passengers exempt from the law, which came into force on June 15.

Under the Government’s rule, those who do not need to wear a mask on public transport include disabled people, children under 11 and people with certain physical or mental health conditions, as well as anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

The new cards read: “Please be supportive. I’m exempt from wearing a face covering” and the company’s bus supervisor team has been hopping on and off buses and handing out the free Helping Hand exemption cards, along with face coverings for other passengers.

Customer service adviser Mark Evans, who produces the exemption cards, said: “Our customers have been telling me that these cards are particularly helpful to show other passengers on board the bus.

“I’ve had many customers thanking me. No one has to prove they are exempt but the card gives users the option of discreetly sharing, if they wish to do so.”

Mark and his team have also been politely explaining to other passengers why it is important for them to wear a face covering during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company estimates that about 90 per cent of those who can wear a face covering have done so on their buses, in compliance with the rule.

Mark said thousands of cards have been produced so far and they are still in high demand, with his team working through applications as quickly as possible.

Brighton and Hove Buses and Metrobus’ managing director Martin Harris hopes the cards will prove useful.

He said: “We know that some passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering may feel anxious about the possible reaction from other people because they are not wearing one.

“This card is to help those people feel more comfortable.

“I also appeal to passengers to show kindness and respect towards those who cannot wear a face covering, while remembering that not all disabilities are visible.”

Mr Harris added that the face covering exemption cards are a personal choice and not something people have to carry by law.

He said: “Our drivers and bus supervisor team will not ask you to prove you are exempt from wearing a face covering.

“It is simply there to help you, if you would like one.

“It is crucial that passengers who can wear a face covering wear one when boarding and for their entire journey.

“It is one of the most important ways to help keep everyone safe, as well as being a legal requirement.”

Passengers can apply for a Helping Hand exemption card at and or print off their own from the websites.