Woman claiming exemption to mask regulations

The injunction wasn’t filed against businesses, however, but Sno-Isle Regional Libraries, Island County Health Department and WhidbeyHealth primary care.

A Whidbey Island woman has filed a request for an injunction to prevent several governmental entities from denying her service because she won’t wear a mask.

In the petition in Island County Superior Court April 27, Alethea Butler claimed that her medical exemption to wearing a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t being honored, leading to her being “locked outside of businesses and denied even basic curbside services by more than one public business.”

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s July 7 emergency order, businesses are required to refuse service to people who are not wearing masks unless they have a medical exemption or are younger than 5 years old. No proof of a medical exemption is required and business aren’t supposed to ask for medical details.

The injunction wasn’t filed against businesses, however, but Sno-Isle Regional Libraries, Island County Health Department and WhidbeyHealth primary care. It’s unclear why the library district and health department are named since the document doesn’t address any issues with either. According to Sno-Isle, state rules regarding libraries say that all patrons, no matter their medical status, must wear masks while in the facility.

Butler, who isn’t represented by an attorney, wrote that WhidbeyHealth denied her “both standard medical services as well as emergency medical services based on my ‘refusal to wear a face mask.’” She also wrote that she was directed to a “back entrance used for COVID-19 positive patients without my knowledge or consent thus exposing me to SARS-COV-2.”

Butler doesn’t name the Oak Harbor police as defendants in the injunction request, but she claims that police have “trespassed” and harassed her based on her disability and “exemptive status” under the statewide facial covering mandate.

“Their behavior has caused me undue psychological stress and fear based on the complications related to my PTSD, a stress-related condition and threats of arrest,” the document states.

Attached to the injunction is a note from a WhidbeyHealth doctor that states, “it was clear that Ms. Butler is at risk for direct medical harm when wearing a mask.”

The note goes on to say that Butler assured the doctor she was not planning on venturing out very often “because of her fear for her own health.”

WhidbeyHealth did not comment on the injunction before press time. Butler could not be reached for comment.

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