Woman With Asthma Says She's Excused From Wearing Mask in Public
She was stopped from boarding the bus even though she showed enforcement officers the doctor's note.
Wallet, keys, face mask — these are the items we can’t leave our homes without these days.
A 43-year-old woman, however, says she has been excused from wearing a mask because of chronic asthma.
Since last month, she’s been showing a doctor’s memo to those who are curious why she isn’t wearing one in public, Lianhe Wanbao reported.
According to the note written by a general practitioner, the woman was treated for asthma at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on April 13.
Excused From Wearing a Face Mask
It read: “In view of her asthma exacerbation on April 13, and that she is undergoing treatment and monitoring, I would state that she be excused from wearing a face mask for the period from April 20 till May 10.”
On the very last day of that exemption period (May 10), the woman was confronted by a man and two enforcement officers at Choa Chu Kang bus interchange.
She was about to take a bus home when they confronted her and asked why she wasn’t wearing a mask.
They stopped her from boarding her bus and insisted that she take a private-hire car or taxi, or risk getting fined for flouting circuit breaker rules.
This happened even after she showed them the doctor’s note, she said.
“I work in essential services so I have to continue going to work at Jurong Island during the circuit breaker,” the woman told the Chinese evening daily.
For about three weeks, she claimed that she had no issue boarding buses after showing the drivers the doctor’s memo.
After the confrontation, the woman left the bus interchange because she did not want to cause a scene. She also called the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) hotline to confirm that she understood the rules.
“I was told that I could continue to take the bus as long I carried the doctor’s memo with me.”
When she returned to the bus interchange, however, the woman couldn’t find the man who had approached her. She realised that someone had called the police instead. After a two-hour questioning at the scene, she was allowed to go home.
While she has gotten her mask-wearing exemption extended to June 22 since the incident, the woman said she is sharing her story so that members of the public would be more understanding towards those who are not wearing masks in public due to underlying conditions.
“Some people have been quite rude when they asked me why I wasn’t wearing a mask. There were also kind people who reminded me to be careful after seeing the memo from my doctor.”
Unless she has to be at work, the woman said she has been staying home to minimise contact with others.
Since April 14, it is compulsory for everyone aged two and above to put on a mask when they’re in public, so as to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Singapore.
Commuters who fail to wear a mask will also be denied entry to buses, trains, taxis and private-hire vehicles even after the end of the circuit breaker, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on April 11.
In an advisory, MOH said that those with underlying conditions may be more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. The ministry also advised them to stay home as much as possible. To protect themselves and others, they’re also encouraged to wear masks when leaving their homes.
For not wearing a mask in public, first-time offenders face a $300 fine while repeat offenders face a higher fine.
AsiaOne has contacted MOH and LTA for comment.
This post was first published in AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.