Wednesday, January 20

Intimidated because of her medical problems

Victim of derogatory remarks and intimidation because she cannot wear the mask due to a disability, a mother would like more clarity from Public Health so that we stop treating her cavalierly in The stores.

• Read also: [EN DIRECT 4 DÉCEMBRE 2020] All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

“I don’t take my kids to the grocery store because I’m afraid it will escalate, sighs the mother of two young boys, who has asked to remain anonymous to avoid being the target of further harassment. Sometimes I am afraid to go to my tank with my bags. “

Since wearing a mask is compulsory in public places, those who cannot wear them for medical reasons only leave their home when they have no choice.

Having been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s profile, the 40-year-old explains being hypersensitive to what touches the extremities of her body, to the point where she does not wear stockings on a daily basis.

“If I wear a mask, I’m going to be anxious and on the verge of a panic attack. My feelings are heightened. It rubs me like I’m being passed sandpaper, and I have tics. I’m tearing my hair, ”she describes.

However, because her spouse sometimes works outside the province, she sometimes has to go out for last minute commissions.

Cold home

Accompanied by The newspaper, she wanted to show her daily life by entering stores near her home.

“You can enter, but at your own risk”, coldly launched an employee of a Maxi, after she had nevertheless explained to him that she had her papers for a medical exemption.

At Jean Coutu and Rona, he was told to wait near the door for an employee to accompany him during his shopping. “We take all measures to protect staff and customers. We can’t tell who is trying and who really has a medical exemption […] It’s not clear, clear [ce qu’on doit faire] », Laments Édouard Calderon, owner of a Rona in Laval.

At the SAQ, we don’t even let her take her bottle herself, even if she washes her hands like everyone else.

“It does not go in line with our recommendations. Hygiene and distancing measures are sufficient, ”laments Daniel Jean, director general of the Office for the disabled in Quebec.

The latter asks traders to show tolerance and patience in the face of medical exemptions.

A question of attitude

Even if she does not hide her state of health, the lady does not like having to reveal her personal information to those who threaten her at the outset by asking for the information in front of other customers.

“I have already taken out my diagnosis and my papers from Public Health, and the employee told me that they were fake: ‘You have no right, we will call the police’. If they feel the need to call the police, I’m comfortable. Often they continue to insult me, but they don’t call, ”she laments.

“You could force yourself,” “it’s because of people like you,” intimidating clients have told her before, calling her an anti-mask.

“It lacks clarity for everyone, from the person himself to the traders […] It would take a clear frame, ”she said.

The Human Rights Commission indicates that it has received nearly 70 complaints from exempt persons who have been refused access to a public place.

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