While most folks consider wearing a mask in public to be their civic duty to help control the spread of the deadly pandemic, others believe that government coercion in response to the pandemic is a violation of their rights. These folks may not be entirely wrong, but the government has a vested interest in protecting people and the health care system from the spread of the coronavirus. This has created a battle between those who argue that civic responsibility is more important than individual rights, and those who believe the opposite.
The Crime of Not Wearing a Mask in Public
Cindy Falco-DiCorrado, 62, was arrested for violating a mask order. The police were called as Falco-DiCorrado ate inside of a Boynton Beach bagel shop. Let’s stop right there.
What happened has nothing to do with the government. The staff approached Falco-DiCorrado and asked her to wear a mask. She refused that request. That’s when police were called.
Let’s forget about the mask for a second. Let’s say you walk into a bagel shop wearing an offensive t-shirt. The staff is allowed to ask you to either cover the t-shirt or exit the store. Since it’s their property, they can do what they want. So as long as they’re not asking you to leave because you’re gay, black, or worship a different God (which is barred by the Civil Rights Act) the property owner has free reign to ask someone to leave. If they ask this person to leave, and they don’t leave, that person is trespassing.
In other words, there doesn’t need to be a mask order or mask ordinance in place for the police to proceed with their prosecution. They can charge the woman for failing to leave the premises after she was asked to for violating a store policy on health.
I Can’t Wear a Mask for Health Reasons
Falco-DiCorrado claims that COVID-19 is a great big scam and that she finds masks suffocating. The bagel shop responded to this claim by saying that folks who don’t want to wear masks are free to order their food in advance and have it dropped off outside or delivered to their home.
This gets into another argument that may actually have merit in terms of civil rights. One could argue (probably not convincingly) that certain folks with certain conditions cannot wear masks for fear of oxygen deprivation or aggravating the symptoms of some respiratory condition. In that case, the bagel shop would be denying access to their store based on disability, and that is illegal, a violation of the Constitution, and the bagel shop can be sued.
That argument, which has circulated on social media, does not take into account the medical facts surrounding mask-wearing for short periods of time while in line or browsing a store. So it is not quite the same as a baker refusing to bake a gay wedding cake. But can the bakery force you to divulge a medical condition?
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Do your civic duty and wear a mask in public. If you don’t, however, West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the The Skier Law Firm, P.A. will help you challenge the validity of the law or the charges against you. Call today to learn more about how we can help.