First face mask discrimination case nets £7,000

A disabled woman assisted by Kester Disability Rights has been paid £7,000 in compensation by a service provider who refused her access to a service because she was unable to wear a face mask.

The pay-out was achieved through negotiation as there was no dispute that access had been denied, or that the Claimant had a disability exemption.  The only thing to be agreed was the amount of compensation, not whether it was due or not. 

Refusing access to people unable to wear face coverings due to disability is direct discrimination - no different to denying access to a black or gay person for example.

Disabled people are now routinely harassed in public for not wearing face coverings - frequently given the impression that confidential medical information must be publicly disclosed to justify exemption.  The fact that shops and hospitality businesses routinely display "no mask no entry" signs shows how deeply disablist attitudes are embedded in society.  If premises displayed "no blacks" or "no gays" notices there would be outrage.

Fortunately the official Government position does not endorse any of this as nobody exempt from wearing a mask is expected to go around justifying themselves.  Saying "I'm exempt" is enough.  If the response to that can be proved to be discriminatory then compensation is due. 

Lock-down and "corona-rules" erosion of disability rights

Although the current crack-down on civil liberties is being presented as "saving the vulnerable" it's increasingly looking like the reverse is the case.

Some of the impacts of "the rules" as opposed to the virus itself include:

- Withdrawal of previously routine NHS screening and treatments (disguised by people being encouraged to say "Thank you NHS").

- People unable to wear face masks too frightened to go out.

- Systematic exclusion of people dependent on lip reading by over-use of face coverings.

- Worsening of mental health amongst those most vulnerable to suicide leading to an increase in suicide.

- Already skeletal mental health and children's disability services becoming even more minimal. 

- Steep rise in child and vulnerable adult abuse and domestic abuse generally.

- Nursing homes residents being placed in indefinite solitary confinement with only human contact with staff dressed in full PPE.

- Victims of crime denied justice indefinitely. 

Upon writing to my MP to request the Government does a proper rational analysis of the impacts of the virus itself against impact of lock-down and associated rules I have so far not had a reply.  I will keep trying as history is likely to show the current situation was as a huge mistake.