Some shops and retailers are witnessing “full-scale screaming competition and danger” as some users refuse to wear face masks.
In a letter to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, he warned that more than 1,500 retailers, agencies and news agencies were affected by the problem.
Vincent Jennings, chief executive of their representative association, the Convenience Stores and New Agents Association, said the problem was not with those who could actually wear the mask, but with a minority who opposed the law.
In a letter to the minister, he said: “I have repeatedly interacted with your department to highlight what we consider to be an unnecessary condition of a section of the people who are allowed to cover their faces – those who declare themselves to be suffering are sad.”
He said: “The condition of mandatory covering of the face of persons with disabilities is as perceptible as physical and mental conditions, but the condition of ‘extreme distress’ is completely unacceptable. ‘Non-maskers’ are used to enter our premises and request services.
I have asked your officers on three different occasions to deny that those who use extreme distress as a reason for not covering their face cannot be considered as claiming compensation on the basis of disability. Denial of entry or service.
“This provision is not required, it is partitional and must be removed from the legal instrument.”
He suggested that similar to the badge used by drivers with disabilities to indicate their right to access priority parking and access facilities, people with genuine medical reasons who cannot wear the mask should be asked to take an externally issued certificate. He said the proposals put other consumers and officials at risk.