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July 21, 2020Advocacy Matters

Advocacy Matters: Face Masks and COVID-19

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

July 21, 2020


#AdvocacyMatters Segment

Face Masks and COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control has called on the public to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governors and local officials have issued orders for the public to wear masks.

Compliance with those orders has not been easy for every person with a disability.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania just released a new resource on face masks and the rights of people with disabilities.  The resource is titled:

No Mask, No Service: What are my rights to enter a business during the COVID-19 pandemic if I can’t wear a mask due to my disability?

The resource looks at the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) requirements, why there are requirements to wear a mask, what masks comply with the DOH Order, exceptions to the DOH Order, and how non-discrimination laws apply to places of public accommodations.  The laws include the Americans with Disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

All of the DOH Orders, along with our resource can be found at  A link is included with our #AdvocacyMatters segment now on our homepage.



Civil rights laws are not suspended during COVID-19.  It’s important to be educated about COVID-19, the DOH Orders that are in place, and federal and state law that protects people with disabilities against discrimination.

For listeners outside of Pennsylvania, I want to caution that the resource is based on Pennsylvania DOH Orders.

In addition, the publication is for general information purposes only.  It should not be considered legal advice.  If you have a question about mask requirements for your disability-related legal issue in Pennsylvania, call our office at 800-692-7443.

If you have a question about mask requirements in your state, contact your Protection and Advocacy agency.  You can find your P&A at