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Public Health warns of fake mask exemption cards circulating

Exemption cards for medical masks do not exist
Photo of a fake face mask medical card shared by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Supplied photo

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is warning people of fake ‘face mask medical exemption cards’ circulating in the area. 

"In terms of people who need real exemptions, they’re not required to provide real proof,” said Danny Williamson, communications specialist at the WDG Public Health.

The cards read ‘I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask or face covering.’

Williamson said it is unfortunate that the card is circulating because it's spreading false information.

He said the members of the public are expected to wear a mask unless they have a legitimate reason for exemption. Businesses, on the other hand, are expected to take what a member of the public says in good faith.

“We ask that everybody do their very best on those two things,” said Williamson. 

“Because of the way the order is structured, commercial establishments aren’t required to ask you for proof so the card is irrelevant.”

The updated Class Order to Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act effective July 17 states that “in complying with the best efforts requirement, owners and operators shall not require employees or members of the public to provide proof that they qualify for any of the exemptions set out in Section 1”

Section 1 states that a person shall be exempt from wearing a Face Covering on the premises if:

1) The Person is a child under the age of two (2) years; or a child under the age of five (5) years either chronologically or developmentally and he or she refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;

 b. Wearing a Face Covering would inhibit the Person’s ability to breathe in any way; 

c. For any other medical reason, the Person cannot safely wear a Face Covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information;

 d. The obligation to provide reasonable accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code requires exemption from this requirement.

“To the extent that someone might need or they might think that they need some sort of exemption card, they do not,” said Williamson.  “To the extent that people feel the need to circulate them, that’s unfortunate.”