Although most mask mandates have ended, people may be required to wear masks in certain situations. There are exceptions to the prohibitions on state and local mask mandates in Section 81B.002 of the Texas Health & Safety Code. These include:
- State-supported living centers
- facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) or the Texas Juvenile Justice Department
- municipal or county jails
- government-owned hospitals or health care facilities, including those associated with an institute of higher education
Additionally, businesses and other establishments may require masks as a matter of policy. This is like a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy that you may encounter at some businesses.
People with certain disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to face mask policies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability laws.
The Southeast ADA Center's fact sheet includes several examples of "reasonable modifications" to a face mask policy:
- allowing the person to wear a mask alternative
- allowing curbside pickup
- allowing the person to wait in their car instead of a waiting room, etc.
In certain cases, a business or government agency does not have to provide accommodations if:
- the accommodation would require a "fundamental alteration" to the business or service.
- the accommodation would pose an "undue burden" on the business or service.
- the individual with a disability poses a "direct threat" to the health and safety of others.
If you want to know if you should avoid wearing a mask due to your disability or medical condition, you should consult your doctor.
If you have questions about the ADA, you can contact the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
Accommodations at work
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission’s fact sheet addresses workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities in question G.2.
It states that an employer can require employees to wear protective gear like face coverings or gloves. An employee may make a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (such as a modified mask that can be worn with a religious head covering).
Employers should provide the modification or an alternative modification unless it would create an "undue hardship" for the employer.
The law can be complex, so if you have questions about a reasonable accommodation to a mask policy you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
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