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Face mask exemption cards are not real, not endorsed

People, social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, wait in line at a mask distribution event, Friday, June 26, 2020, in a COVID-19 hotspot of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Joint Information Center, part of the Washington State Emergency Operations Center, warned that face mask exemption cards you may have seen or heard of recently are not real.

The Department of Justice has also been made aware of postings or flyers circulating on the internet with their seal, regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and the use of face masks during the pandemic. These postings were not issued by the department and are not endorsed by the department.

In Washington state, a public health order from the Secretary of Health that took effect Friday requires face coverings or masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, and outdoors when maintaining six feet of distance from others is not possible. However, there are exceptions to the face mask requirement for people with certain health or medical conditions who are not able to wear a mask safely.

The exemptions listed in the statewide order include: children younger than two years old who should never wear a face covering; children under five years old are not required to wear a face covering but may only with the assistance and close supervision of an adult; and persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This may include someone for whom a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.

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If you are unable to wear a face covering for a medical reason, you do not need to carry a card or flyer of any kind, and you do not have to explain your condition to anyone. If a business stops you from entering their office or store, the Joint Information Center suggests asking for alternate accommodations, including curbside pick-up, delivery, or virtual meeting options.

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