SAN ANGELO, TX – As "Face Mask Exempt Cards" begin to gain popularity on social media, the Department of Justice has released an alert warning citizen the cards are not endorsed by the department.
“The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice’s seal,” said the department in the alert. “These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department.”
According to CNN, the laminated cards featured an eagle and were created by the Freedom to Breathe Agency. The issue is that the FTBA is not a federal or state agency. The “agency” is actually a Facebook group that claims it is attempting to stop the spread of mask orders “nationwide and globally.
The card references the DOJ and the Americans with Disabilities Act and features a variety of versions.
One version states: "I am exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage in public. Wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me.”
Some versions of the cards displayed the following message: “Denying access to your business/organization will also be reported to FTBA for further actions,” and others allude to possible fines that could be imposed on those who question the validity of the card. The cards also featured the official DOJ seal.
The group founders, Lenka Koloma and Fred DiDomenico would only confirm to CNN they distributed cards but did not explain why they featured the seal.
The Facebook page was removed on Thursday for “fraud and deception” and their Wix page was shut down without warning. But according to Koloma, they are working on creating a new Facebook group that will continue to distribute the cards.