A Manitoba man with cerebral palsy says he was removed from a Dauphin, Man. Walmart by security after staff failed to honour his mask exemption.
In a video posted to YouTube Friday, Alex Lytwyn says the incident happened Dec. 16, while he was trying to buy a Christmas present for a friend.
While masks are currently required at all indoor spaces in the province, Lytwyn has cerebral palsy, a disability that prevents him from being able to put on or remove a mask by himself, one of the few cases for mask exemptions in Manitoba.
Despite his objections and explanation of his disability, Lytwyn was eventually trespassed from Walmart by two security guards, an experience he says left him feeling scared.
“I wasn’t going to complain about something or cause a disturbance. All I wanted to do was live with the little bit of freedom I do have, and Walmart has taken that away,” said Lytwyn.
Lytwyn says he was ignored during the incident, alleging staff directed comments to his homecare worker instead of him.
“I can represent myself, and I was appalled with how I was treated. I wanted to do Christmas shopping and I was made to feel ashamed, dirty and like I wasn’t supposed to be there,” said Lytwyn.
“It really put a damper on my holiday spirit.”
Walmart Canada did not respond to a request for comment.
Mask exemptions are only granted to people with cognitive or respiratory issues, children under 5 or those who cannot put on and take off a mask without assistance.
Although exemptions are given to those who meet the requirements, this is not the first time they have been ignored.
In recent months there have also been other cases of businesses acting on their own policies regarding masks, resulting in customers with exemptions being barred from shopping or ejected from retail locations.