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US Warns: Online Cards Don't Provide a Mask Exemption

Use of Justice Department seal was a misunderstanding, Facebook group says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2020 8:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – A card is circulating online declaring that, under federal law, the bearer doesn't have to wear a mask in public. "Wearing a face mask posses 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 warns, misspelling and all. The Justice Department says that's nonsense, NPR reports. The card appears to be issued by the Freedom to Breathe Agency, which of course doesn't exist—at least not as a government agency, but rather a Facebook group. Businesses that bar the maskless card bearer risk fines starting at $75,000, the card says. At least some of the cards appear to carry the Justice Department's seal. "These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department," the agency's alert says. The CDC urges everyone to wear masks in public.

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"Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle," a US attorney in North Carolina warned, per Time. A US attorney in Maine offered a link to "Actual ADA info." The Justice Department seal was a misunderstanding, said the Freedom to Breathe Agency, which leads resistance to government mandates about masks. "Our Face Mask Exempt card was issued as an educational tool based on overwhelming amount of citizens reaching out to us for having health issues and unable to wear a mask," the group said in a statement, adding that it aims to inform Americans of "their legal and human rights under the Constitution of the United States to prevent discrimination, intimidation and coercion." (Dick Cheney has endorsed wearing a mask.)

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