NZ woman charged for allegedly forging mask exemption document

A woman has been charged after she allegedly produced to police a forged mask exemption document.

The 23-year-old woman, who was not wearing a mask, was stopped and spoken to a police officer on compliance patrol at Pak'nSave Silverdale, north Auckland, on Friday afternoon.

"A document she produced claiming an exemption was examined, and was found to be forged," police commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement.

"While some people have genuine reasons for not being able to wear a face covering, blatantly disregarding the requirements puts others at risk," Coster said.

READ MORE: NSW records 1218 COVID-19 cases, six further deaths

The woman has since been charged for using a forged document and breaching the Health Order, and will appear in the North Shore District Court on October 28.

Stuff understands this could be the first instance where a person has been charged for providing a forged mask exemption document in Auckland.

Masks are mandatory for staff and customers at any businesses open to the public during alert level 4, including supermarkets, petrol stations, healthcare facilities, public transport, stations and bus stops.

The only people exempt to that rule are those under age 12 or people with illnesses, conditions or disabilities that make wearing a face-covering difficult or unsafe.

These people may request an exemption card from the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ by phoning 04 801 9100 or emailing info@dpa.org.nz.

Only the police can take enforcement action, but staff at essential services can ask people to put on a mask or display an exemption notice.

Coster previously said police were taking an "education-first approach", but were prepared to move to enforcement swiftly when required.

From the start of the current lockdown to 5pm on Saturday, police charged 103 people for 111 offences nationwide relating to Covid-19 rules, Health Act breaches and assaults, threats and obstructions against police officers.

During the same period, 293 formal warnings were given.

Infringement notices were also given to 41 people who failed to wear a face covering at essential services.

Five people have also been issued infringement notices for not wearing a face covering on public transport.

This article first appeared on Stuff. It has been republished with permission.

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