- The woman’s father said the two of them entered the shop wearing masks, but took off his property because his sensory disturbance made him uncomfortable
- He said a worker confronted them and asked to see his daughter’s “paper” to see if she was released from wearing a mask.
- He filed a complaint with Target, who was investigating the incident at an Illinois store
A Target employee in Illinois threatened to call the police on Saturday for a customer with special needs who was not wearing a mask.
Bill Pratt went to the store with his daughter, Emma, 22, who was diagnosed at a young age with a brain disorder, autism, and sensory integration disorder and confined to a wheelchair. Pratt said the two regularly went to the store because it was one of his daughter’s favorite places to visit.
“He loves Target,” Pratt said NBC Chicago-affiliated WMAQ. “He likes to walk around the store and buy videos there.”
He said the two went to the store wearing masks according to Governor J.B. Pritzker that anyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask in a closed public space in response to a coronavirus pandemic. Pratt said he had difficulty making his daughter wear a mask, but could wear it before going inside. However, Pratt said his daughter’s sensory disturbance made the mask uncomfortable to wear and he asked to take it off.
“He said, ‘Can I take this off? Can I knock this down? ‘I said,’ Yes, please, ‘said Pratt.
Shortly after removing the mask, an employee reportedly confronted the couple and asked Pratt to put the mask back on.
“I said ‘He had some sensory problems and, actually, I think he was medically released if you saw the law,'” Pratt said. This refers to the exception that anyone suffering from a medical condition that makes wearing a mask problematic doesn’t have to wear it.
“Then he said …‘ Do you have documentation to prove it? “Pratt said.
Pratt said the employee kept pushing to look at the documentation and threatened to call the police if he didn’t wear his mask or make his daughter’s “documents”. In turn, Pratt left the items they were going to buy, left the store, and called Target’s corporate headquarters to file a complaint.
“You can’t do this to people with special needs,” Pratt said. “That’s not a blanket. Everyone can’t wear a mask. “
Target responded to the incident. “We appreciate the role played by our frontline team members in this fast-developing environment, and have taken this opportunity to reinforce specific details of Executive Orders and local guidelines, including exceptions for anyone with disabilities that prevent wearing masks,” said the company said in a statement.
“We also reach guests with an interest in connecting directly about their experiences.”