The controversial face mask
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the general public should wear cloth face masks when social distancing is not an option, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Mask policies vary from state to state but the general rule is to “wear a mask when you’re less than six feet away from another person unless it is somebody from your inner circle that you trust,” says Antonio Crespo, MD, medical director for Orlando Health Infectious Disease.
That being said, there are some places where face masks are not recommended at all. In fact, wearing a face mask in any of these places can get you in serious trouble. Curious to find out what these are? Then read on to discover where you can’t wear face masks no matter how much you want to.
Courtrooms can become quite crowded with people so it makes sense that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should wear some sort of face cloth while inside a courtroom. However, according to a June 10 report in The New York Times, various jurors in Portland, Oregon have been required to discard their masks during questioning. Accusers or defendants in other jurisdictions have also been asked not to wear face masks during court proceedings as these items can affect their credibility.
If you need to go to the bank to cash in on a check, you might want to put your face mask in your bag before you get to the teller’s window. That’s because according to The New York Times, Brian P. Brooks, acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, wearing face masks in banks could lead to more bank robberies.
More than that, banks have all the right to ask people to remove their masks while performing various transactions. “Banks are private property and can remove people for any lawful reason, including if they are wearing masks,” explains criminal and constitutional law attorney Rajeh A. Saadeh.
A crowded airport is definitely one of the places you should be wearing a face mask. A TSA checkpoint, on the other hand, may not be.
According to the TSA, agents need to verify people’s identities at screening checkpoints, and this cannot be done with face masks on. “It’s safe to assume that anytime you’re asked to present a form of photo identification, you will likely be required to remove your face mask to confirm your identity,” adds Lauren Blair, a lawyer specializing in family law, commercial litigation, and employment law counseling and litigation.
I’m sure you’ve seen people driving around in their cars and wearing face masks. If you’re alone in your car, wearing a mask is not really necessary, not to mention it can get you in a lot of trouble.
“Police officers can pull over drivers for wearing a mask as long as there is a legitimate, articulable safety concern,” says Saadeh. One such concern would be that the mask affects the driver’s visibility and ability to drive their vehicle safely. “I’ve seen people wearing bandannas and homemade masks pretty high on their face, and then you’re actually worrying about having a car accident because you’re wearing a mask,” said Dr. Paul Nanda, TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track chief medical officer.
This was the case in a recent accident in New Jersey. According to police reports, “the driver’s decision to wear an N95 mask behind the wheel may have been a contributing factor in the crash”.
Another issue is how people store their masks when they are not using them. “We need to stop hanging them from the rearview mirror. For the exact same reason you are not supposed to hang your disabled driving placard from the rearview mirror because it can be visually distracting, the same thing would apply with these masks,” said News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero.