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Fraudsters Are Distorting Face Mask Exemption Rules

ADA does not excuse all people with disabilities from mask requirements, Justice Department says

People wearing protective masks walk through the Essex Street subway station in New York

Bloomberg/Getty Images

En español | Fraudsters are hijacking the Department of Justice seal and using it in social media posts and flyers to falsely claim that all people with disabilities are exempt from mask-wearing rules issued during the coronavirus pandemic, officials warned Tuesday.

Eric Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for DOJ's Civil Rights Division, called the assertions in the materials “fraudulent."

The people behind the ruse falsely state that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives those with disabilities a blanket exemption from complying with legitimate safety requirements during the pandemic.

The misinformation has appeared in cards and flyers and online. Many of the phony notices use the DOJ seal and offer a phone number for information about the ADA, according to agency officials.

Keep this in mind: The DOJ did not issue these materials and does “not endorse them in any way."

"The public should not rely on the information contained in these postings,” officials said.

They are urging people who need more information to visit ADA.gov or to call the ADA Information Line at the Justice Department: 800-514-0301 (voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY).

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