As face mask mandates show up across Idaho, there are reports of people displaying fake cards claiming they are exempt from wearing masks.
The fraudulent cards say forcing these individuals to wear masks is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA and the Department of Justice say they do not issue or endorse these cards.
“There is no constitutionally-protected right to enter a business without a face covering,” said Linda Clemon-Karp, Continuing Education Coordinator for the Northwest ADA Center. “There’s also no ADA-protected right to enter a business without a face covering.”
However, Clemon-Karp said, businesses can’t outright deny customers either. The ADA upholds the right of people with disabilities to access the goods and services of businesses.
“They have to offer reasonable modification,” said Clemon-Karp,“ but that does not have to be letting people in without masks.”
Curbside pickup or delivery are good examples of reasonable accommodations for those who can’t wear a mask.
Clemon-Karp said it’s important to remember ‘reasonable accommodation’ does not protect businesses from being sued. However, if modified options are given and refused by the customer, the business has done its due diligence.
More information about face masks and the ADA can be found here.
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