Who's exempt from California's mandatory mask mandate? Stanford doctor explains

According to the CDC, those with underlying chronic lung disease and asthma qualify, as well as "those with developmental disabilities or intellectual delays."
PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- It's mandatory to wear a face covering or mask in California, but are there exemptions to this mandate? We spoke to experts who say "yes," but you would need a doctor's note to back that up.

A video filmed on June 26 at a Trader Joe's in Southern California shows a woman yelling at grocery store employees, claiming she has a medical condition and refusing to wear a face covering.

The video went viral and raised the big question: Who is exempt from wearing a face covering or a mask?

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Dr. Tina Sindher, with Stanford University's Allergy and Immunology Department says it's not that simple.

"Before just giving out an exemption I would really try to go through what the reason would be," Dr. Sindher said.

According to the CDC those with underlying chronic lung disease and asthma qualify, as well as "those with developmental disabilities or intellectual delays."

"Any mental health conditions or those who have sensory sensitivity. If children or adults are within the autism spectrum," said Dr. Sindher.

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As he puts on mask after mask, the meter shows a steady, and healthy, 98-99 percent.



That's where 15-year-old Muhammad Almality comes in. He's autistic and exempt from this order.

"For the first three months he didn't leave the house and that was so hard. Sorry. It wasn't just hard for him but also for me because he doesn't understand," said Feda Almaliti, Muhammed's Mom.

Feda Almality says some people see him not wearing a mask as selfish public behavior, but the reality is different.

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"He has autism he doesn't understand. Most of the time people are very nice but there are other times where they are mean," Almaliti said.

Almality has tried five different masks or face coverings, but Muhammad can only keep one on for 15-30 minutes max.

"Everyone should be patient. There is a lot that he is going through," said Taylor Groth, therapist with the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis.

As to those with critical lung diseases, medical professionals say giving them exemptions to go outside around crowds without a mask can place them at higher risk.

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