In email, PM, and amongst our team, this article has been a long time coming. We are going to be discussing the mask mandate and how it has cruely targeted individuals with disabilities. While we are aware that many people will not agree with this article, we believe the mandate to be in violation of the “Americans with disabilities act” (ADA.) While the mandate itself has exemptions, the many corporations who poorly enact this mandate also violate selective portions of it, thus our definition of violating the ADA.
Hollywood casino: Maryland Heights, Missouri
Doing something as mundane as going to a casino shouldn’t turn into a discrimination situation. For one woman, with various medical conditions, it did. Worst yet, she is allegedly not the only individual targeted by unfair, selective and enforcement of the mask mandate. She wrote us saying the following:
I walked into the casino. security stopped me and told me I could not enter without a mask. I handed them my dr. note and they called upstairs. They came back and told them they didn’t care about my Dr note but I had to wear a mask. Which that itself violates the mandate law in st louis. Health conditions are exempted on the mandate.Wished to remain anonymous
She later informed us, via phone, that a relative of hers was forced to wear a mask. At first it seemed to be an “okay, whatever” sort of situation. She went on to explain that the relative is on an oxygen machine and had difficulty breathing as a result. To this, we requested permission to make mention of that ordeal within this article.
I attempted to contact the casino. I asked one simple question: “how many people have shown your employees doctor notes and was still forced to mask or leave?” The response I got was simply being hung up on, with no further communication. Upon recieving this response, I sent them an email (pictured at the end of this article) and am currently awaiting a reply.
Meanwhile, we were able to find some aspect of their policy. However, it says nothing in regards to disabled people. The policy we have found simply reads:
While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remains our top priority. With this in mind, we worked closely with the Missouri Gaming Commission, state and local leaders, and public health officials to finalize comprehensive Phase I reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions. Our returning team members will be trained on these procedures and our guests will see reminder signage about them throughout the property. These new protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Capacity on our gaming floor may be limited, but we do not expect this to impact the customer experience.
- The installation of floor decals and signage to strictly enforce social distancing guidelines will be placed in areas where lines typically form.
- Table game seating will be limited, and some slot machines will be placed out of service.
- Live music, entertainment, convention, and banquet services will remain suspended.
- There will be no large drawings, tournaments, or special events.
- Restaurant offerings will be limited to Hops House, Hollywood & Grind, Phat Thai, Celebrity Grill, and Charlie Gitto’s.
- The gift shop, fitness center and valet parking will also be closed.
- Valet parking will be closed, and the parking area typically used for valet parked cars is available for self-parking. Additional handicap parking spaces will be added to both casino parking areas.
- The hotel has reopened.
HEALTH & SAFETY
- Team members and vendors will be required to wear masks and will undergo a health screening each day, including temperature checks, prior to their shift.
- Based on the ruling by the St. Louis County Health Department, and in order to help reduce the spread of COVID – 19, Hollywood Casino St. Louis will be requiring all persons in public areas will be required to wear a mask covering the face and nose. Patrons may remove masks temporarily while eating or drinking or when asked by casino staff for identification. Guests not adhering to these requirements will be advised of the requirements and warned that if they continue to disregard they will be asked to leave the property.
- Slots and table games will be thoroughly and regularly cleaned throughout the day.
- Sanitizer stations will be installed on the casino floor and be readily available throughout the facility.
- Plexi-glass separators will be installed at the players club, cage, security podiums and other locations.
- Citation: https://www.hollywoodcasinostlouis.com/covid-19
Loves Travel Plaza
In this day and age even a simple road trip has become problematic. One of the emails recieved regarded the national travel plaza, Loves. As of March 29th, the corporation began enforcing the mask requirements, with no regard to disabled people. While we had gotten an email of one situation, I had already planned to target this company purely based on what I have personally seen, even prior to their mandate. With that, I will now tackle two birds with one stone.
First, let’s review the email sent to us:
My name is (redacted) and I want to see if you would write an article about what just happened to me. I was recently on a roadtrip from my home in (redacted) Tennessee, going to New Mexico. On this trip, I stopped at a Loves travel center in Hazen Arkansas. I needed to get fuel among a few other things. I have COPD, the image sent to you is my Dr. statement explaining why I am unable to wear a mask. I brought this into the store with me, just in case. I go into the store and am immediately stopped by an employee. He informs me that I must wear a mask to enter. I explain to him that I can’t wear one and offer to show him the note. He becomes more aggressive, tells me that he doesn’t care about the note. If I will not wear a mask, I must leave the premises. No gas, no food, and no pit stop, I leave. Thankfully, a nearby gas station was more than happy to have my business. I hope to bring exposure to how people like me are being treated, I hope you will help.Email sent to our platform.
If you aren’t aware, the mask mandate does have exemptions to it. Autism, COPD, and those with various other medical conditions are classified as exempt. These businesses denying these customers entrance not only violates the mask mandate exemptions code, it is also a violation of the ADA, title II. Title II of the ADA reads as follows:
SUMMARY: This final rule revises the regulation of the Department of Justice (Department) that implements title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), relating to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in State and local government services. The Department is issuing this final rule in order to adopt enforceable accessibility standards under the ADA that are consistent with the minimum guidelines and requirements issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), and to update or amend certain provisions of the title II regulation so that they comport with the Department’s legal and practical experiences in enforcing the ADA since 1991. Concurrently with the publication of this final rule for title II, the Department is publishing a final rule amending its ADA title III regulation, which covers nondiscrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and in commercial facilities.Citation: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm
What Title II is essentially saying is this: a business cannot treat a person differently simply because they have a disability. Regardless of this law, that is what we are seeing. Under the illusion of “protecting the public,” people with disabilities and medical conditions are being barred from various locations. While public safety is a concern, it is alarming that certain people can’t even go shopping without being forced to violate doctor orders. At this point, it no longer appears to be a matter of public safety, but a situation of compliance.
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