mask exemption card

Doug Ford calls out scammers with fake mask exemption cards

For some people, like those with severe health issues and children under two, wearing a mask goes against the recommendations of medical professionals.

These people are in the minority and, if given the chance, would most likely choose to wear a mask sometimes rather than live with a condition that makes it hard for them to breathe all the time.

Under the City of Toronto's new mandatory indoor face mask bylaw, these people can simply tell business owners that they're exempt from wearing a mask for health or human rights reasons. Store owners are not permitted to require proof.

And yet, reports continue to surface of people brandishing "face mask medical exemption cards" to local retailers in order to enter bare-faced — people who are perfectly healthy and capable of putting on a facial covering.

These "anti-maskers," as they've come to be known, have proven both annoying and worrisome among business owners, the general public, and people who are legitimately exempt from masking up.

It's one thing to storm the subway system declaring "hugs over masks," but it's another to start printing fake cards and openly flouting the rules, which is exactly what members of this bizarre community are accused of doing.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) decried the behaviour of individuals creating and circulating these fake face mask exemption cards earlier this week, and is urging people not to use them.

When asked about the issue during his daily press conference Wednesday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford similarly slammed the cards, which are not connected to any public health or aid agencies, despite the logos they bear.

"I heard about that, and first of all, I want to thank the Red Cross, what a great organization," said Ford in response to what looks like a Red Cross logo on one version of the fake exemption card. "It's unfortunate that people are using their logos, and I understand they're going to possibly be taking action."

"This isn't the time to use fraudulent cards, to get away and be able to go into the store," Ford continued. "Be responsible, don't be a scammer."

Ford said that it is "unacceptable" for anyone to make or use a fraudulent card just to get out of wearing a mask into an enclosed space is — a move meant to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which has so far killed nearly 9,000 people in Ontario.

"Everyone else is wearing a mask," he said. "When you go into stores, wear a mask... If you don't have a mask, wear a face covering. As far as I'm concerned, it's totally unacceptable."

Lead photo by

Bella


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