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80 Md. L. Rev. Online 1 (2020-2021)

handle is hein.journals/endnot80 and id is 1 raw text is: RESOLVING TENSIONS BETWEEN DISABILITY RIGHTS LAW
AND COVID-19 MASK POLICIES
ELIZABETH PENDO,* ROBERT GATTER,** SEEMA MOHAPATRA***
ABSTRACT
As states reopen, an increasing number of state and local
officials are requiring people to wear face masks while out of the
home.    Grocery stores, retail outlets, restaurants, and other
businesses are also announcing their own mask policies, which
may differ from public policies. Public health measures to stop the
spread of the coronavirus such as wearing masks have the
potential to greatly benefit millions of Americans with disabilities,
who are particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. But
certain disabilities may make it difficult or inadvisable to wear a
mask.
Mask-wearing has become a political flashpoint, putting people
with disabilities at risk. There are reports emerging that people
with disabilities have been challenged, excluded from retail
establishments, and even threatened with arrest for not wearing
masks. Some anti-mask activists encourage their followers to
falsely represent themselves as disabled to confound mask
requirements, which has the potential to amplify skepticism and
mistrust of people with non-obvious disabilities. Reports of violent
conflict over mask-wearing add to these tensions. The first lawsuit
challenging a mask requirement under federal disability rights law
was filed in late May, and more are likely to follow.
Federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require
appropriate modification of public and private mask-wearing
policies to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities.
These laws, like other civil rights statutes, remain in force during
© 2020 Elizabeth Pendo, Robert Gatter, Seema Mohapatra.
* Professor of Law, Center for Health Law Studies, Saint Louis University School of Law;
B.A., University of California Los Angeles; J.D., University of California Berkeley School of Law.
** Professor of Law, Center for Health Law Studies, Saint Louis University School of Law;
B.A., Johns Hopkins University; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School; M.A. (Bioethics),
Medical College of Wisconsin.
*** Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney
School of Law; B.A. (Natural Sciences), Johns Hopkins University; J.D., Northwestern University
School of Law; M.P.H. (Chronic Disease Epidemiology), Yale University School of Public Health.

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