Justice Department Warns Against Fraudulent ‘Face Mask Exemption’ Cards

Screengrab / @HoarseWisperer / Twitter

Artivia Tahir

Face mask exemption cards have been flooding the internet amid the coronavirus pandemic

A Facebook group that calls itself the Freedom to Breathe Agency has begun issuing fake face mask exemption cards which have been circulating social media in recent days, according to Newsweek. The cards brandish an eagle symbol that is reminiscent of the Department of Justice seal, prompting the department to proclaim that the cards are fraudulent.

  • The cards feature a red banner stating “Face Mask Exempt Card” and include a DOJ ADA Violation reporting number and DOJ seal. It also states:

"I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask poses 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 goes on to list a series of penalties that violators are subject to if they continue to deny service to the card holder, including fines of up to $150,000.
  • While there are penalties for violating the ADA, the Justice Department called the cards “fraudulent” on its website, adding that "these postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department."

The card has begun circulating the internet as a number of states have required the use of masks when entering indoor spaces. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has gone a step further, also requiring the use of masks in outdoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

  • A number of people across the country have argued that requiring face masks infringes on their rights.
  • The Freedom to Breathe Agency is a byproduct of that sentiment. Their mission statement argues:

"Breathing is a vital biological activity to physical and emotional well being. Oxygen is No.1 nutrient for every living organism including humans. Wearing a mask is an unhealthy obstruction of oxygen flow that can lead to hypoxemia and hypoxia, can permanently damage the brain, lungs, heart and about any organ. We must protect our birth right to breathe. This is NOT negotiable.”

Read the full report.

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