A Brighton and Hove charity has appealed for understanding for passengers on public transport who are exempt from wearing a face mask.
The disability charity Possability People spoke out with the backing of Brighton and Hove Buses.
Graeme Trelford-Davies, from the charity’s engagement and inclusion project Get Involved Group, asked that passengers show empathy towards fellow passengers and did not judge those who could not wear a face covering on the bus.
Exemptions include disabled people, people with long-term health conditions, children under 11 and those with mental health conditions.
Mr Trelford-Davies said: “It’s simply about people being supportive of each other.
“I ask other passengers not to make unkind remarks, stare at or criticise those who are not wearing a face covering. It can make somebody feel really upset and uncomfortable.
“There are going to be those who have chosen to ignore the guidance – it’s inevitable – but we’d like to believe that they are in a minority.
“The truth is that we just don’t know every person’s individual circumstances and there are two sides to every story.
“Many more people are exempt than is in the public perception, we feel, and many disabilities are not visible. It’s not always obvious, so please be understanding and kind.”
Brighton and Hove Buses managing director Martin Harris said that there would be passengers who were exempt from wearing a face covering.
Mr Harris said: “I am also appealing for people to treat their fellow passengers with compassion, not judgment.
“That said, people who are not exempt must wear a face covering, particularly to protect vulnerable people who may not be able to wear one when they travel.”
Mr Harris said that bus drivers did not have to wear a face covering because they were behind a screen.
But they did have to wear one if they needed to leave the drivers’ cab, for example, to help a wheelchair user or a passenger with a pushchair.