Coronavirus: Dubai launches application system for face mask exemption

Only people with specific medical conditions or other special needs will be eligible to apply

People living in Dubai who have certain medical conditions or special needs can now apply to be exempted from wearing a face mask.

Launched by Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Police on Monday, the permit system requires the applicant – or someone acting on their behalf – to submit a medical report that states their condition may be aggravated by wearing a face mask.

The authority’s General Medical Committee Office will evaluate each application and respond within five days.

Applicants must enter their name, Emirates ID number and nationality, and submit a copy of their ID and supporting medical documents.

People who may be eligible for a face mask exemption include:

  • Anyone suffering from fungal dermatitis, especially if they have severe signs on their face such as bleeding, itching and scaly skin;
  • Anyone allergic to any component of a mask (allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, contact urticaria);
  • Individuals with severe herpes infection that affects the mouth, nose or face;
  • People with acute and uncontrolled chronic sinusitis;
  • Patients with uncontrolled asthma;
  • People with some cognitive, intellectual or sensory disorders;
  • People with some psychiatric disorders.

Although mask-wearing will not be mandatory for anyone granted an exemption, the authority encourages such people to wear a one in public places whenever possible to protect themselves and others from infection.

Face masks are mandatory across the country when outside the home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In May, the UAE Attorney General increased the fine for anyone not complying with the safety measure to Dh3,000.

Soon after, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management clarified that people could remove their masks temporarily in public when eating, driving alone or with family, engaging in strenuous exercise, when alone, while swimming and when undergoing medical treatment.

Those exempt from wearing face masks in public at all include children under the age of 6, people with cognitive, intellectual or sensory disorders that hamper their ability to breathe or communicate, and people who require supplemental oxygen or have severe respiratory conditions.

Children, pregnant women and people past middle age have been advised to stay at home for their protection, as has anyone with a chronic illness that makes them more vulnerable to the virus.

Applications for face mask exemption permits can be made here.