The wearing of masks has been and is a real flash point and now a trade group in Florida representing restaurants and hotels is warning its members not to be duped by an authentic looking ID that says that the card holder doesn’t have to wear a mask.
The fake cards feature the U.S. Department of Justice logo, cite the Americans With Disabilities Act and are in circulation. Businesses are already having a tough time could be caught in the middle again.
Business across South Florida, with their losses mounting, are trying to keep everyone happy and being nice to those who don’t want to put a mask on, but many times that’s not what they get in return.
“I mean, yeah, people do get pretty upset about it," said Tess Krause, from Billy Jacks restaurant in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Now thrown into the equation is the ID card, put out by a group calling itself FTBA, the Freedom to Breath Agency.
The card says the person presenting it is exempt from any local rule because the mask poses a mental or physical risk. It indicates the holder doesn’t have to disclose the disability, and gives the correct phone number to report a legitimate ADA violation to the Department of Justice.
Stephanie Langer, an expert in disability law, said the cards could make things difficult for people with real disabilities.
"It's fraud, plain and simple. There is no truth or veracity to what's stated on the card and the use of them, it makes it more difficult for people who have disabilities who actually need accommodations and modifications. So there nonsense and its a shame,” Langer said.
The trade group representing restaurants in Florida said Wednesday they are sending out a warning to owners to be on the lookout for the fake ID cards.
“We will be sending an email out today just raising awareness to them that this is something that people have started to use and to bring into restaurants in order to not have to wear the masks," said Samantha Padgett, legal counsel for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
The American Lung Association also put out a note saying wearing a mask would not reduce your oxygen levels. The website to purchase the cards was taken down, but the Facebook page of the group is still up and running and they told media outlets they intend to get the cards out other ways.