KEY POINTS

  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) did not issue a face mask exemption card for people with disabilities
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also denounced the fake face mask exemption flyers
  • Freedom to Breathe Agency, which distributed the cards, has reportedly deactivated their social media

​The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has not issued a face mask exemption card for people whose mental or physical medical condition may be aggravated by the face covering. The DOJ's Civil Rights division is warning the public that the card, as well as flyers with similar details, are fake.

Photos of these laminated cards, bearing the name of the Freedom to Breathe Agency (FTBA), are making the rounds on social media, which allegedly gives the holder the privilege not to wear the face-covering, especially in states where it's mandatory.

Presented as an official card, it claims that the holder cannot disclose the condition that exempts them from following the face mask rule under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).



 

Matthew G.T. Martin, a North Carolina U.S. Attorney, said in a news release on the DOJ website that the face mask exemption cards "do not carry the force of the law."

"Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle," Martin said. "The 'Freedom to Breathe Agency,' or 'FTBA,' is not a government agency."

The ADA has a provision requiring establishments with mandatory face mask rules to accommodate those who may not use one because of their disability or medical condition. Individuals who do not have disabilities are not protected under the terms of the ADA, so they must comply with the establishment's rules.

The agency also denounced the fake face mask exemption flyers on the internet with the DOJ's seal.

"These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department," the agency stated on its official site.

pd58batch1-18146-ploy-01a Face mask wearing in public is mandatory in several states in the U.S. Photo: Rawpixel

In an interview with CNN, FTBA founder Lenka Koloma said that they are on a mission to protect people's "freedom and personal liberty." She said people may wear masks only if "they wish to be silenced and muzzled."

The FTBA's Facebook group had nearly 6,000 members and was formerly called the Anti-Mask Task Force before CNN reported that it disappeared Thursday (June 25).