Beware of false mask claims, officials say

Beware of false mask claims, officials say

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can provide many protections. But it doesn’t exempt people from wearing face masks, shields or other protective facial coverings. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a warning regarding fake posters, flyers and carrying cards circulating on the internet that exempt individuals from wearing face masks in public because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice’s seal,” the DOJ said in a statement. 

The “Face Mask Exempt Card” images began appearing on Twitter and other social media earlier this summer. 

The card falsely states “I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), I am not required to disclose my condition to you.” 

The card also states that any business found violating the made-up mandate could face serious consequences. “Organizations and businesses can be fined up to $75,000 for your first violation and $150,000 for any subsequent violations. Denying access to your business/ organization will be also reported to FTBA for further actions.” This, too, is untrue. 

The FTBA appears to be an acronym for the “Freedom to Breathe Agency.” But a listed website couldn’t be found. 

The DOJ warns that the card isn’t valid and that the ADA claims aren’t true. “The department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department,” the DOJ said. 

The false ADA cards come at a time when many celebrities are joining the push for people to wear masks, face shields and other coverings, and to stay safe. Wearing of face protections has increasingly become politicized. 

(Source: Associated Press, KARE-11)