OPINION: Don’t be a Carla

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 27, 2020

I learned of a scam over the weekend that has plagued me for days. It’s apparently becoming increasingly common, but I’m here to tell you, it won’t work. 

Carla is a family friend whom I had previously admired; a good, Christian woman who devoted herself to bettering her community. However, as with many others, the coronavirus pandemic has shown her true colors.  

Carla (and likely others) has decided she’s above wearing a mask or other face covering when running errands in her town, and therefore has obtained, printed and laminated a fake card that claims, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, that she has a “medical condition that prevents her from wearing a face mask, does not need to disclose the condition, and not letting her shop without a mask is a form of discrimination.” It also threatens fines and reporting for not allowing people to shop without a mask. 

Email newsletter signup

Aside from the invalid nature of the card itself, those claims are false, and here’s why.  

Disability is not a “get out of wearing a mask” pass. The ADA mandates non-discrimination unless doing so would endanger the health, welfare or safety of others; in other words, it’s not discrimination if an individual poses a direct threat to others.  

Being a possible carrier of the coronavirus/spreading it to others because you’re too selfish to wear a mask makes you a “direct threat,” according to Title III of the ADA, guidelines from the CDC and orders in various municipalities stating masks are required.  

Abusing an act put in place to protect the rights of those who are actually disabled also makes you a horrible person.  

“What about people with actual respiratory conditions that make mask-wearing difficult or impossible?” you ask.  

It’s very simple: the ADA requires a reasonable accommodation to be made, not the accommodation you request. Newsflash: brandishing a phony ADA card to weasel your way out of wearing a mask isn’t going to make you get your way. 

Instead of allowing you, the self-proclaimed special snowflake who doesn’t want to wear a mask, to get your way, businesses can turn you away at the door, offering instead curbside pickup and online shopping options as a “reasonable accommodation.”  

The problem here is people, like Carla, a perfectly healthy woman who actually falls within a vulnerable category due to her age and would benefit from the protection a mask provides, abusing the ADA for their own selfish reasons.  

The ADA exists to make certain that those with disabilities can live as normal a life as possible, with reasonable expectations. Not so Miss Carla COVID can get out of wearing a mask “because it makes my face too hot.”  

The level of entitlement, selfishness and overall immaturity of the people working this scam is readily apparent. They are actively exploiting protections put in place for Americans who need them, to justify pitching a fit over wearing a mask. It’s very simple: if you don’t want to wear a mask for 30 minutes at the grocery store, get your groceries somewhere else or use some other method.  

Don’t be a Carla.