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Echuca Trophyman offers free badges for face masks exceptions

By Ivy Jensen

ANYONE in the Echuca-Moama area who has a face mask exception can now pick up an explanatory badge for free at an Echuca business.

Phil Masters from Trophyman Giftware and Engraving has designed a badge, which reads ‘Medical exception. Face covering not required. Please be respectful’ and hopes people who have valid reasons for not wearing a mask will take advantage of the offer.

“Our badge design is ready to go and we have stock ready to go,” he said on Wednesday.

“If you have a genuine medical exception and it fits within the guidelines set out on the DHHS website, we will supply your badge for free. We just need to cite your proof of exception.”

The idea came to Phil after an elderly man was abused at an Echuca supermarket on the weekend.

“Another guy rang me saying he had a similar thing happen to him locally,” he said.

Trophyman's Phil Masters is giving away explanatory badges to people who, for medical reasons, can't wear a mask when out in public. Photo: Cath Grey

“These badges can be clearly seen and will allow people who have a medical exception to walk through a supermarket or public place without being abused or judged.”

One such man said the badge he received from Phil had been a huge help.

‘‘I went up to three stores in Echuca and the Woolworths petrol station and I got asked twice why I wasn’t wearing a face covering and once the staff saw my new medical exception badge, they were really good about it and I continued my shopping,’’ he said.

‘‘Phil's badges really worked and it made my day so much easier compared to last week’s abuse I received from members of the public.’’

Phil said the reaction he had received from the public had been extremely positive.

“People have been really sympathetic to the situation,” he said.

“The post I put on our Facebook page reached 8750 people in less than a day.

“I even had Colleen (Forster) from the High St Corner Store contact me and offered all my staff a free lunch."

Badges can be ordered by phoning 5482 3892 and collected from Trophyman at 1/55 McMillan Rd.

If you live in Moama, you need to order and pick them up the following day after 10am at Meninya Street Pharmacy.

“Please show your respect and be kind to everyone, with or without a face covering, as now more than every we need to show our humanity,” Phil said.

If you’re medically exempt from wearing a face mask and still feel the need for protection, Switched On Electronics (218 Hare St) will give community members with a medical exemption a free face shield.

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