jim smith sent a message to Craig Jelinek that said:
To whom it may concern: October 9, 2020
To Costco Inc:
I have a medical disability that makes wearing a face mask a dangerous threat to my health, safety, and life. Therefore, under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA), I am exempt from any and all mask dictates or requirements related to the Chinese virus; aka covid-19. I practice social-distancing and assume all other risks accordingly.
I have shopped at my local Costco store in Nanuet, New York several times since March 2020 to the present. The first time I shopped there in March 2020, I was stopped and questioned by several employees, whom I informed of my medical exemption status. Ultimately, the manager of the store told me I couldnât shop there without a mask. He refused to acknowledge my rights under the ADA, or New York State recommendations relating to masks and social distancing: both of which do.acknowledge medical rights and exemptions.
Subsequently, I have shopped there a couple of other times and though questioned by non-management employees was able to complete my purchases. However, last week , Tuesday October 6, 2020, I was prevented from completing my shopping, even after talking with and being given approval to do so at door entry by a different manager. My shopping was stopped very aggressively by a few employees that did not care at all that legitimate exemptions exist and must be respected by law, but instead were quite hostile and confrontational . When the top manager finally arrived, though not hostile, he still refused to acknowledge my right to shop without a mask pursuant to my exemption status. He refused to accept that either the ADA law and protections, or NYS recommendations, mattered. Instead he asserted âstore policyâ even though they violate the law and ignore state recommendation.
After consulting an attorney , I was advised to write this letter to you in the hope of resolving this breach of my rights in an amicable and constructive manner. I simply need to be assured that this problem will be fully addressed and remedied with all of your management and employees at this store, so that I can shop unmolested and without continued violations of my rights accordingly .
The Americans with Disabilities Act states the following :
1)People with disabilities including mine - âhiddenâ -not readily visible medical and/or mental disabilities, are NOT required to disclose them.
2)If found in violation of the ADA you could be fined $92,383 for the first violation, and $184,767
For subsequent violations.
New York State RECOMMENDS the following regarding masks and social distancing:
âNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on April 17 requiring people to wear face masks when they are in public spaces that DO NOT allow for social distancing.
Children under two and those with MEDICAL CONDITIONS that PREVENT THEM from wearing masks ARE EXEMPT from the order."
Costcoâs warehouse stores, with its generally wide aisles and spaces, both; ALLOWS for social distancing, and MUST respect medical condition exemptions accordingly.
I appreciate your full consideration in this matter, and look forward to your earliest reply telling me how you plan to re-mediate the issues I have addressed in this letter.