Better Business Bureau: Cards exempting face masks are fake

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Some people are going to great lengths to avoid wearing face masks in public during the pandemic. They’re even presenting official-looking cards displaying the U.S. Department of Justice logo claiming they have health issues that exempt them from wearing a mask.

Now the justice department is putting out a warning that the information on those cards is not issued or endorsed by the DOJ.

Many downtown Sioux Falls businesses are urging their customers to wear masks. But shoppers like Mary Wilka don’t need any convincing.

“I wear a mask every time I go out in public. I work in a grocery store so, it’s very important to me, especially when I come into contact with people,” Wilka said.

Some businesses offer free masks to customers who show up without any.

“Since the Fourth of July, we’ve had probably 90-percent of people who come into our store are wearing their own masks, so the message is getting through and people are acting in a responsible way,” Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gifts owner Dick Murphy said.

The owner of Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gifts says he’s had some customers refuse to wear a mask while they’re shopping in his store.

“And I’ll respect them, but again, here I am, I’m masked so I can take care of 50-percent of the issue there,” Murphy said.

A card, being circulated online, has caught the attention of the Better Business Bureau and federal authorities. The cardholder claims that he or she is legally exempt from wearing masks because they pose a mental or physical risk. The Justice Department is issuing a disclaimer about the cards.

“The fact that they are using the Department of Justice logo on it, that would lead you to believe that it’s endorsed by the Department of Justice, and that’s just not the case,” Better Business Bureau of South Dakota Director Jessie Schmidt said.

The Better Business Bureau urges people to follow CDC guidelines because safety is found in wearing a mask, and not in the cards.

The cards are distributed by a group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency. The cards also threaten fines involving thousands of dollars to anyone who asks questions of the cardholder. But again, the Justice Department says the cards are not valid.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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