Recently, we reported on a situation at the Disney Store at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Pennsylvania in which a disabled child was not allowed to enter because he was not able to wear a face mask. We shared these details in our original coverage of the story:
When Shea Emanuel took her sons to the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township last month on a birthday outing for the boy’s younger brother, staff at the Disney Store would not allow them to enter because he was not wearing a mask. Emanuel explained to the store manager that her son is autistic, which prevents him from wearing a face covering, but the manager refused to allow the boy into the store, the lawsuit claims.
It is Walt Disney Company policy that all Guests age 2 and over must wear face coverings while on the premises.
Now, Shea Emanuel has spoken out about the situation and why she and her legal team believe Disney is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. She told Lehigh Valley Regional News WFMZ 69:
“His [her son’s] doctor explained that something on his body can feel like knives on him, which is why he won’t wear a mask.”
The report continued:
“This has nothing to do with money, we’re not even asking for Disney for money and I’m not only standing up for my son, but other people with disabilities,” Emanuel said.
“Our position here is this iron-fisted mask policy that Disney has in place has a tendency, does exclude individuals with disabilities who cannot wear a mask because of that disability,” said attorney William Mansour.
Mansour is asserting that Disney’s face mask policy violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, which grants reasonable accommodation to those suffering from a wide variety of disabilities.
Disney has released a statement about the face mask lawsuit, writing:
“Disney stores operate in accordance with the ADA, and we will respond to the plaintiff’s allegations in court at the appropriate time. We are always focused on the health and safety of our guests and employees, which is why we implemented a number of enhanced measures, including a face covering requirement, at our stores during this unprecedented time.”
Related: Walt Disney World Face Masks FAQ
The Whitehall, PA Disney Store webpage features this standard Disney Store information about COVID-19 health and safety protocols:
“We have taken enhanced health and safety precautions for you, our other guests, and cast members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney store.”
The website goes on to detail various safety measures, including the required face covering policy and physical distancing protocols.
What do you think about the Pennsylvania Disney Store mask policy lawsuit? Is mom Shea Emanuel right?