Bill Would Let Businesses Require Mask, Crack Down On Fake Exemption Cards

Sophia Hall for WCBS 880

July 01, 2020

Originally published in WCBS 880 on July 30, 2020.

ALBANY (WCBS 880) — A Long Island state senator has proposed a bill that would give businesses the authority to required customers to wear face masks inside their stores. 

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says too often people walk into establishments without wearing a mask, putting the people around them at risk for contracting COVID-19 and business owners often cannot do much to stop them. 

His bill would bolster Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order – which requires masks be worn in public where social distancing is difficult – and give business owners and employees the authority to kick out anyone who does not comply with the mask guidelines.

“The idea here is not to have this be a police response with handcuffs and force and all that, but the law will give that store owner the right to exclude people and the right to throw people out who are not listening,” Kaminsky said. 

The state senator also is looking to crack down on phony “face mask exempt cards” that are being sold online. 

The card claims the holder is exempt from any ordinance requiring face mask usage and included the official logo for the U.S. Justice Department. 

However, the Justice Department has issued a warning that the cards are fake. 

“It’s a national fraud scheme that has the actual symbol of the Justice Department that says, ‘I’ve gotten this card, I don’t need to wear a mask.’ So, what the law basically says is, ‘There’s not such thing, a store owner doesn’t have to honor that,’” Kaminsky explains.

Kaminsky’s bill wouldn’t apply to children 2 years old or younger and is only for those medically able to wear a mask.