Masks might be the new norm but can be a health risk for others

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As mask-wearing continues to be the new normal and a potentially life-saving tool for yourself and others, it’s important to remember that not everyone is physically able to.

It’s a mandate in Massachusetts if you’re unable to social distance, you need to wear a mask. Now national retailers like Walmart and Kohl’s are requiring all customers to wear face coverings even if it’s not mandated by that state.

However, even in Massachusetts, there are some exemptions, like for people with certain medical conditions. There have been instances of people without preexisting conditions trying to take advantage of this rule. So 22News spoke to one doctor who said in rare cases a mask can negatively impact people.

“People with disabilities, for example, mental disabilities, they might not understand why they have to wear a mask. Young children are also exempt because they can’t keep a mask on or maybe you have respiratory problems,” said Dr. Daniel Skiest, an Infectious Diseases Specialist at Baystate Medical Center.

Under the American Disabilities Act, businesses cannot ask customers specific questions about their conditions. This includes asking for medical documentation.

On the other hand, the ADA does permit retailers to deny services to customers if they pose a “direct threat” to the health and safety of others. This means if someone with or without a mask presents Covid-19 symptoms they can be asked to leave a business.

Again, everyone who physically can wear a mask is urged to wear one to prevent the spread of the virus.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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