WXXI Cites Professor Doron Dorfman's Article on Mask Mandates
Lack of mask exemption guidance leaves policy decisions up to doctors
(WXXI | July 29, 2020) Since April, New York state has required people to wear masks when they are outside of their own homes and cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from each other.
That rule has two exceptions: Children under 2 years old, and people who cannot “medically tolerate a face-covering” are not required to wear masks.
The first exception is clear, but the second remains open for interpretation even months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order took effect, said Dr. Mical Raz, a professor of history and health policy at the University of Rochester.
The lack of clarity is true across the country, Raz said. “Most local ordinances that require masking note that there should be exemptions for medical conditions, but nobody actually knows what these medical conditions are,” she said.
Raz and Doron Dorfman, a law professor at Syracuse University, co-wrote a paper published this month in JAMA Health Forum in which they described an “evidence-free zone” of disabilities that warrant exemptions from mask mandates.
“There is no way to build a complete list. That is not the way the law works in America,” Dorfman said.
Leaving decisions up to doctors “preserves what we think of as individual liberties in this country, but it can leave things open for abuse" ...