WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement confirming a card that states its holder is exempt from face mask ordinances is fraudulent.
Images of the card, which feature the DOJ's logo and cite the Americans with Disabilities Act, have appeared recently on social media.
The card, which appears to be made by the anti-mask group Freedom to Breathe Agency, also threatens organizations and businesses with fines and says, "Wearing a face mask posses 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 Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice’s seal," the DOJ's statement said. "These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department."
The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of North Carolina also addressed the card.
“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin said in a statement. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.”
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maine posted an image of a similar card on its Twitter account and said, "These documents are not issued or endorsed by @TheJusticeDept."
This is an example of a card being distributed in Maine, claiming that the bearer is exempt from face mask requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. These documents are not issued or endorsed by @TheJusticeDept. Actual ADA info: https://t.co/5syNOfJaGq pic.twitter.com/YFxeUgkL9j— U.S. Attorney Maine (@USAO_ME) June 26, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others," the CDC's website says.
Neither Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb nor Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett have issued orders requiring citizens to wear face masks in public.
More than 125,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus since March, while nearly 2.5 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Read the Department of Justice's full statement below:
The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice’s seal.
These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department.
The Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department.
For more information and technical assistance about the ADA, please contact the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY).