Chicago family say their 3-year-old son was denied entry to the Museum of Science and Industry because he wasn’t wearing a mask, and now the family is asking Illinois officials to remind the public that there are medical exemptions for the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor spaces.
Father Brian Smith says he wanted to bring his son Ralli to the museum on Saturday to see a huge model train display at the facility.
âWe love train books, and Santa could bring us some fun stuff like that,â Brian said.
When they got to the museum, Brian says they were refused entry because his son was not wearing a face covering.
âThey say ‘I’m sorry.’ They say ‘you can’t come in’, âhe said.
Rallis was born with a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis of Bourneville. The boy’s father says the rare condition causes his son to not wear or keep a mask in any situation, and he says that although he explained his son’s condition to museum staff, the entrance to them. was still refused.
âI was super angry,â he said. “The implication is that my son is a threat to customers, and that is not true.”
Under the provisions of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order requiring all people 2 years of age and older to wear masks indoors, those with a health condition or disability that prevents them to wear masks safely cannot be forced to do so.
The Americans With Disabilities Act states that if a person with a disability is unable to wear a mask, businesses and other entities should consider reasonable changes to their mask policy.
In a statement, the museum said it was able to make this type of accommodation, but arrangements needed to be made in advance.
âWe apologize for Smith’s experience,â officials said. âWe can make special arrangements for guests who cannot wear a mask but cannot make same day arrangements. We ask visitors to contact us one week before their visit.
Now Brian says he hopes his story leads to more discussion of how to properly manage the medical conditions that prevent individuals from wearing masks safely, and he urges the governor to make those exemptions clear to the public.
“It is up to the governor to step up his efforts to implement his directives,” he said. “It has to happen immediately.”