LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As attractions start reopening in Central Florida, some people say they cannot wear masks due to health issues. As a result, they say they haven't been allowed in all of the shopping and dining complexes that require face coverings.
At Disney Springs, visitors must wear a mask -- a move to protect everyone during the pandemic.
Anthony Cimino says his daughter got turned away because she is deaf and can't wear a mask due to her disabilities.
"We always go every weekend. They’ve been part of our family for years, and this just saddens us that we’re restricted now over this problem. She cried. This is just killing me."
Jennifer Mohr and Richard Robinson say they were also turned away. They told workers they had medical issues and couldn’t wear a face covering.
"They said well, we’re not allowing anyone without a mask to come in, and I explained to them that I deal with medical issues," Mohr says, adding that she was born with both heart and lung problems, making it difficult to breathe with a mask.
"I have severe asthma. It restricts breathing. It really made me feel like I was less of a person. I was devalued," Robinson says.
A Disney spokesperson says that right now everyone has to wear a face-covering, but maybe later will be a better time to visit.
"After that, we decided to go to CityWalk. All we had to do was get a wrist band that said we couldn’t wear masks," Mohr explains. "They just asked us a few basic questions, like why can’t you wear a mask and I simply said it causes me not to be able to breathe and they were like, 'Ok.'"
Robinson says he realizes people are concerned about their health.
"I understand it’s for everyone’s safety, but they should have better things lined up and maybe a better protocol for the people that can’t."
The two say they are willing to be tested and bring a doctor’s note if that’s what it takes.
"I would definitely be willing to take one and provide paperwork if I was asked, to be able to enjoy something I enjoy doing," Robinson adds.
They say they have also been asked to leave gas stations and a shopping mall because they didn't have face coverings.
Mohr says, "I understand. It's not a big deal. I just want to be treated as an equal."
According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with underlying health issues should avoid crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. Many hope medical advancements in the near future will change that.
According to attorneys from Morgan and Morgan, there are several anti-discrimination laws that protect the rights of people from being denied services. In those instances, businesses need to provide equal service. So if you can't get into a restaurant, that business should be offering curbside delivery or home delivery.