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Which health issues qualify for a face mask exemption?

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Doctors are clarifying what health issues typically qualify for a face mask exemption under county guidelines.

Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW Health's chief quality officer, said medical exemptions are not that common. They're mostly for people with mental health conditions who can't put something restrictive over their faces and less for people with underlying conditions like asthma or heart disease.

"Most of those people who are maintained well in their medications and their therapies, if they're well enough to go out in public, i.e. like get in a car, drive, walk across the parking lot into a store, they're going to be healthy enough to wear a face covering," said Dr. Pothof. "If their underlying medical condition is so severe that even a thin face mask makes them unable to breathe, it's pretty unlikely that they're going to be healthy enough to get out in public."

Public health officials said, if you have an ADA qualifying disability and cannot wear a mask in your workplace, you need to bring medical documentation to support that request.

If you refuse to wear a mask at work, you may be sent home without pay.

Anyone who cannot wear a mask in a store is asked to use curbside or delivery services instead, or they may be refused entry.

You can send questions you have to our "getting answers" team to

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