The Department of Justice is warning about fake 'Facemask Exempt' cards circulating on the internet and elsewhere. Has anyone seen this at a Utica or Rome business?

While public health officials continue to encourage mask-wearing as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19, a card and flyer is circulating online that falsely claims the holder is exempt from wearing a mask.

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In an alert issued by the agency, the Department of Justice says the cards and social media posts were not issued or endorsed by the department, even though the appear to carry the DOJ seal.

The cards say that according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the bearer is not required to wear a mask, or disclose any condition that prevents them from doing so.

"If found in violation of the ADA you could face steep penalties. Organizations and businesses can be fined up to $75,000 for your first violation and $150,000 for any subsequent violations. Denying access to your business/organization will be also reported to FTBA for further actions," the card goes on to say.

The card also says a business could face "further actions" from the FTBA - or the Freedom to Breathe Agency - which isn't a state or federal agency.


The Justice Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit for ADA information issued by the Department.

It appears that the flyers originated from a Facebook group calling itself the 'Freedom to Breathe Agency'.


READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19

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