(feel free to copy and paste and mail at will)
Way back in 1990 the ADA became national law. “The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.”
It guarantees the same rights and opportunities to all people.
The ADA defines a disability as, “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
In case you missed it [__insert store name here__] buying groceries and clothing [__or other activity__] is/are major life activities. Wearing a face mask has become a major life activity for most. It’s almost as normal as wearing shoes.
Yet, just as there are some who cannot wear shoes, there are some who cannot wear a mask.
Perhaps, you noticed the wheel chair accessible entrance to your facility that is open to the general public. If you asked a wheelchair bound individual to wait outside while you brought things to them, that would instantly embroil your business in a law suit. In fact, you’d probably make the local news’ nightly program.
Just like mobility issues, there is a very long list of health conditions which limit an individual’s ability to wear a face mask. Severe asthma, COPD, and anxiety disorders are just a few of the physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one’s ability to participate in the major activity of wearing a mask. (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 prevents you or your business from requiring verification of an individual’s private health information.)
In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, we lacked accurate data to properly assess the potential threat of COVID-19. Thus, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that Covid-19 may present a threat to others, thus the ADA may not apply. Many took this news as a get out of jail free card for any draconian measures they felt like imposing.
However, the WHO officially ended the pandemic nearly three months ago. Case counts are down all across the world despite the lifting of mask mandates. The whole world has also seen that mask mandates actually made COVID-19 transmission worse.
If you’ll take a moment to look at the above graph, you’ll note that North Dakota (which had multiple local and state wide mask mandates) has a higher rate of COVID-19 cases than our neighbors to the south who did not have a state mandate and had only a few local mask mandates.
Now we know more about COVID-19. A plethora of data exists proving the transmission rates and death rates. Our culture has learned of the negative results of masking and witnessed the reality that masks do not prevent infection. The mask mandates and executive orders have been lifted. There is no legal basis for your business to continue the discriminatory practices suggested in March 2020, like bringing individual items out of the store when disabled persons were not welcome in the store.
To quote ADA.gov, “People with disabilities expect businesses to take positive steps to comply with the ADA. Businesses that do not take steps to comply may face legal consequences.”
You can anticipate a coming lawsuit. Your store policies are discriminatory. You have caused immense social, economic, mental and emotional stress and damage. Myself and many others will no longer stand by while you victimize people who, through no fault of their own, cannot abide by your unfair, unequal policies.
I see a massive series of class action lawsuits against the businesses, including the airline business, who persist with their unlawful mandates.