The state government has this week passed an amendment to the COVID public health order, requiring anyone unable to wear a face mask to carry and provide proof of exemption when required.
The change was introduced on Thursday, stating that anyone with a physical or mental illness, condition or disability that makes mask wearing unsuitable must carry documentation. This could be in the form of a certificate signed by a health practitioner or NDIS provider, or a statutory declaration signed by the person.
As well as producing the documentation to police on request, people will also be required to provide their name and address - and proof of this.
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Austin Gregor, service manager of disability service provider Northcott in Wagga, thinks the rule change is a necessity.
"A lot of people probably aren't of the understanding that face masks can be a physical and a mental barrier for people," he said.
There are also a number of mental health concerns, he added.
"There are some people who do feel claustrophobic (and) that can be brought about with the feeling you are contained within something," Mr Gregor said.
He urged the community to have an "extra layer of consideration" for people who cannot wear masks as outbreaks of COVID continue across the country.
"It's not that they are deliberately choosing to flout the rules ... it's because they genuinely cannot go about their daily functions while they're wearing a mask," Mr Gregor said.
He said that disability is not always visible or obvious - and "that is a much bigger problem than just mask wearing" - and having documentation proving that you are exempt means there is "very little you can do to argue with that".
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