'Mum's fury as deaf girl, 8, is 'turned away' from shop for not wearing face mask and staff 'demanded proof'

A MUM was left furious after her deaf daughter, eight, was 'turned away' from a shop for not wearing a face mask and staff 'demanded proof' from her.

Julie Muller, 41, and her eight-year-old Sadie-Grace, are exempt from wearing face masks as they need to lip-read to communicate with each other.

The pair were stopped outside of a Cotswold Outdoor ship in Newcastle on August 8, where Ms Muller pointed out her daughter was wearing hearing implants.

However, she was turned away and was left 'heartbroken.'

Ms Muller said she was stopped at the entrance by a worker who asked where her mask was.

She told the worker: "I'm exempt because my daughter's dead and she needs to be able to read my lips."

The 41-year-old was then asked for proof of the disability, and she said: "You can have a look on her head."

She added: "I embarrassed my daughter. I showed her the implants on her head."

But the employee allegedly replied: "That's not good enough, I need paper proof."

The government guidelines state that "If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate" then you do not need to wear a face mask in shops.


  • Children under the age of 11.
  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • Employees of indoor settings.
  • Transport workers- although employers may consider their use where appropriate.
  • Police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public.
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.

A shop manager at the store also initially refused to give Julie and Sadie access – before allowing them in, but warned they would not be served without a mask "due to company policy."

Cotswold Outdoor has claimed Julie and Sadie-Grace were "welcomed" inside after Julie explained why she was unable to wear a mask.

The company confirmed staff were unable to "provide any full close-contact services."

However, mum-of-three Julie has made a complaint and has vowed to "never set foot back in that shop."

Ms Muller added: "What was heartbreaking was Sadie asked her dad, “Am I not allowed in the shops because I’m deaf?”

"I had to explain it was not because she’s deaf, it’s because I need the mask."

Cotswold Outdoor said in a statement to the Metro: "With regard to this particular situation my understanding is that the customer, but not her daughter, was initially asked to wear a face covering when entering our Newcastle store.

"As soon as the store manager was made aware that the customer needed her daughter to be able to see her mouth to lip read, the manager welcomed the customers into the store without requiring them to wear a face covering.

"However, he did explain that we wouldn’t be able to provide them with any full close-contact services such as boot fitting, at that time."

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