You do not have to legally lower your mask for lip-readers

28th Jul 2020

Claim

A post on social media has claimed that if a deaf person asks you to remove your mask you are legally required to make an adjustment.

Conclusion

This is incorrect. You are allowed to lower or remove your mask to assist those who lip-read, but it is not a legal requirement.

A graphic on social media which claims that people must legally remove their face coverings for deaf people so they can lip-read has been shared hundreds of times.

It is incorrect to say you are legally required to remove a face covering to allow someone to lip-read. Government advice states that you are allowed to remove your face-covering in mandatory areas to help someone who may need to lip-read. This is also reflected in health protection legislation which says that assisting someone who needs to lip-read is a reasonable excuse for not wearing a mask. However, the legislation does not say that someone has to remove their mask for someone who lip-reads.

The group behind the post, the Deafness Resource Centre, told Full Fact that it has recognised that the post is misleading, and will be updating its website and social media with a similar post that contains the correct information.