People are being asked not to wear the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower as proof of exemption from wearing a face covering, unless they have a genuine need.
The call comes following concern that the lanyards, commonly used as a discreet way of helping the wearer inform staff, colleagues and health professionals that they need additional support, help or time, are being used to avoid wearing a face covering during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jessica Hatchett, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Access Officer, said “Any fraudulent use of the Sunflower reduces its effectiveness for those who genuinely need it, as not all disabilities are obvious.
“I would like to remind those who need the lanyard to get it from a legitimate source, and not pay higher prices for copies that promote incorrect use.
“Even if you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you may not need the lanyard.”
A spokesman for the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said: “We in no way condone the misuse of our Sunflower lanyard, and find it distressing it might be used for this purpose.
“We do not ask for proof of the wearer’s disability, as some are yet to be diagnosed, or have conditions that are difficult to diagnose.
“The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is designed to discreetly indicate that the wearer or someone with them has a hidden disability – if that is not you, then please desist from wearing our Sunflower lanyard.”
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a global scheme, with an increasing number of businesses and organisations in the UK, including supermarkets, train and bus stations, leisure facilities and the NHS, now recognising the lanyard.
For more information, please visit hiddendisabilitiesstore.com
Face coverings remain a legal requirement in all indoor public places in Wales, including public transport and taxis, and where takeaway food and drink is sold.
This applies to everyone aged 11 and over, unless an exception applies. Children under 11 do not have to wear a face covering.
For more information, go to gov.wales/alert-level-4-frequently-asked-questions