Business owners beware: If someone comes into your establishment, holding a card that says they're exempt from wearing a face covering, the U.S. Justice Department wants you to know that the card is not real.
The card is tied to a group called the Freedom to Breath Agency and claims the cardholder is exempt from wearing a mask because it will allegedly cause that person mental and physical risk. The card contains a Department of Justice logo and cites the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Both government agencies have said they have no ties to the card.
"The cards are really completely bogus," said Kathy Gips with the New England Americans with Disabilities Act. "Unfortunately, we do seem to have a battle in this country between people who believe in wearing masks and people who feel like it's their right not to wear a mask. I think people are really abusing the Americans with Disabilities Act, by pretending to have a disability."
It's unclear how many cards are in circulation, but the New England ADA Center says it's received one report of it being used at a business in Worcester.
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The card encourages individuals to call the Department of Justice to report any violations of the ADA and states that organizations and businesses in violation of the ADA could face "steep penalties," including fines of up to $150,000.
It also warns that the Freedom to Breathe Agency will take further action against any businesses denying entry to people who won't wear masks.
"I think it's unconscionable that people are using the Americans with Disabilities Act and falsely proclaiming information about fines and the Department of Justice being involved, none of which is accurate," Gips said.
The New England ADA Center says if you do have a medical condition or disability, and can't wear a mask, then talk to businesses about providing you with reasonable accommodations.