Concentrating On COVID: Face Masking and Your Rights

As part of this week’s Concentrating on COVID series, we again visit the greuling topic of face masking and the requirements as amusement parks in the commonwealth opened this past week and the waters have been tested, resulting in those who choose not to wear one to be ejected from the parks.

Ah, summertime, nice hot weather, no school, and the amusement parks are open, well almost two months late anyway. Anyway for the three parks to the southwest corner of the commonwealth they took a firm stance that they were requiring all guests over the age of two to wear masks. Now I have discussed this topic on here many times during the pandemic. It has nothing to do with one’s level of autism, it rather has to do as to whether their senses tolerate that feeling of the mask against their face. I have to admit, at first ,it was difficult, then it gradually got better. However, for autisitcs that are unable to communicate, it can be diffuclt for them to understand that masking is required.

Indeed it is up to the establishment as to whether or not they will allow you to participate in their services with a mask. It is just in the way that it has handled that matters to the autistic. For example, at the one specific park of the southwest that I was a former passholder at, the individual was temperature checked and the child was told that they would be required to wear a mask. When told they couldn’t because of their autism, park police was summoned and they intensified the situation to the point that the child was traumatized and broke out in hives. This my friends is where mis-education of autism awareness training is lacking.

Autism is just a spectrum, like a rainbow, so to speak. It has a wide array, just like in the new Diagnostic Statistical Manual from Level 1 at what was known as Asperger’s to Level 3. I think it is a discredit, and yes some say that Asperger was a Nazi Sympathizer, but for almost 20 years we had a diagnosis, no matter what its name, was part of its own uniqueness. Not that it wasn’t part of Autism, it just wasn’t perceived as what it was some years ago when autism was in its infancy.

Regardless, the common saying is “If you meet one person on the Autism Spectrum, You’ve done just that , met one person” We are all unique in our very own way. Our reactions are different at different things and how we are belittled, are marginalized, whatever you want to call it. For sure in this specific case, they got the raw end of the deal.

Now back to the mask issue, where within it lies a great vagueness of what establishments have to do. They do have to provide an alternative of services to the person not able to wear a mask. Simply because you cannot provide an alternative to an amusement park is not a easy feat. Yes. capacity is an issue, yes the safety of employees and other guests are an issue. From what I heard they are indeed working on this by providing alternatives. However, the park in question while open to season pass holders last week was open, it was very modified, that being there were several theme areas closed and only a handful of rides open throughout the park. Although I get that it wouldn’t be a “true” visit, likely the comp visit they could offer would be much better that what they could provide during the current operations.

I would suggest that if indeed cannot wear a mask within an establishment, please do your research. Visit the establishment’s website, call if the answer isn’t clear, if you can’t find an establishment that accommodates you, then be expected to use one that has an alternative that works for you. These are unprecedented times, and not all establishments are on the same page and there will be some strife if masking is unable, but remember, it should be given every attempt because it is for everyone’s best benefit.

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