PORTLAND, Ore — Images of "face mask exemption" cards have been making the rounds on social media.
The printed cards claim the cardholder is exempt from all regulation mandating face mask usage in public and cites the Americans with Disabilities Act as the reason.
The card threatens a fine of up to $75,000 for businesses that don't comply, includes a phone number for The Department of Justice ADA Violation information line and a logo for a group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency.
According to the Department of Justice, the card is bogus and not endorsed or issued by the federal government.
Tom Stenson, deputy legal director at Disability Rights Oregon, said the cards aren't real and using the reasons listed on the cards as a way to get out of wearing a mask, won't work.
"Anybody who says that the Americans with Disabilities Act means that anybody who has a disability can go anywhere they want to, without a mask, you know, period end of sentence, that's just a misstatement of what the law is," said Stenson
KGW can Verify: these cards are bogus, and using the reasons listed on a card to get out of wearing a face mask in a business will not work.
Other agencies including the Washington Emergency Management Department are warning people not to use them.
Stenson said there are people with disabilities who can't wear a mask for legitimate reasons and businesses must make reasonable accommodations including offering delivery or curbside pick-up options.
"Usually, the reasonable accommodation is not likely to be having you go into an establishment and walk around without a mask on if the policy of that store is that everybody wears it," said Stenson.
He said using the ADA as a way to get out of wearing a face covering hurts the people with actual disabilities.
"Having people who don't have disabilities cynically using the ADA to prove some personal political point, grounded in conspiracy theories, which is ultimately going to mean COVID spreads further, more people with disabilities will get COVID and more people with disabilities will die. I mean, that's the most horrible and cynical use of the Americans with Disabilities Act that I can think of," said Stenson.