The folks at the Justice Department who enforce the Americans With Disabilities act issued a warning about fake posts on social media. These posts claim that the ADA makes mandatory face mask rules illegal.
The Justice Department spoke out to make sure everyone knows that’s not the case.
“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.
These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department.
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.”
Can They Make Me Wear A Mask?
So what is the ADA position on mandatory face masks?
The ADA Southeast said that face masks are an important tool to stop the spread of Cornoavirus but acknowledged that wearing masks poses a problem for some folks with disabilities.
Here’s how they answer the big questions:
May a state or local government agency or business require customers to wear a face mask?
In their opinion:
“A business or government agency may require customers to wear a face mask to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Is there a reason a person might not be able to wear a face mask?
The CDC said that people who have breathing problems or unable to remove a mask without help should not wear a face mask.
Included in that list are people living with:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- other respiratory disabilities
Also mentioned by the ADA are those with:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- severe anxiety
- cerebral palsy
- a person who uses mouth control devices
There’s currently no law in place about whether a business can require medical proof of your disability when you refuse to wear a mask. Although proof of disability is normally not required to request modifications under the ADA.
Do They Have To Let Me In Without One?
There are currently no ADA rules in place addressing masks. So, do businesses and government agencies have to let you in without one if you’re disabled?
The guidance said that businesses and agencies should make reasonable modifications to wait on folks who can’t wear masks.
- Allowing you to wear a loose cloth covering or a face shield
- Offering phone ordering and contactless pickup or delivery
- Permitting people to wait in cars for appointments.
- Offer appointments by telephone or video calls.
When Can They Keep You Out?
When can businesses or agencies not serve you if you can’t wear a mask?
Businesses and agencies are allowed not to serve people when doing so means a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
The department of justice suggested that each business and agency put someone in charge to review requests for reasonable modifications.