Sprouts Excludes Maskless Dr. Rima. Would You Shop There?

Apparently Sprouts Execs
Have Decided US, State Laws
Do Not Apply Inside Their Stores

Opinion: Dr. Rima
Rima E. Laibow, MD Medical Director Natural Solutions Foundation, September 15, 2020

Amazing! I entered the Sprouts Farmer’s Market at 4645 Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ to check out some organic fruit but, before I could purchase anything, turned around and left. For good. Unless and until, that is, Sprouts decides to comply with US and State law and respect my right to make my own health decisions.

It would appear that Sprouts Farmer’s Markets, “Where Goodness Grows” [1] seems to be harvesting some other kind of goodness. And, according to what I understand about the law, it’s not the legal kind.

Although their website specifically states “We focus on giving locally in the areas of food security and hunger relief; promoting health education and nutrition; and helping people living with disabilities and health concerns. ” [Emphasis added – Dr. Rima] that’s not what I experienced today in their Tucson Speedway store.

I choose not to wear a mask. I know, as you do, that masks do nothing to stop the spread of viral disease and may make that transmission worse [2] so their use is absurd political theater and obedience training. But the reason that I legally do not chose to mask is because I feel that their use would undermine my health. I therefore exercise my right under the Americans With Disability Act and corresponding State Law (in this case, Arizona, but it is the same in every state) to declare that masking would harm me.  I assert my right to be fully accommodated in a non-discriminatory manner.

I can do that at Natural Grocers.  I can do that at Wholefoods. I can do that at Fry’s.  I can now do that at Office Depot.[3] But, as of now, Sprouts appears to consider itself a land of its own, with its own laws. How sad.

I walked in to my local Sprouts and was courteously offered a mask which I courteously declined, saying that masking would undermine my health. I started into the store but was asked to wait for the manager who eventually appeared . She did not appear to listen to what I had to say and  simply repeated that I needed to mask in Sprouts because it was store policy.

I courteously pointed out to her that store policy needed to conform to the laws of the US  and the State of Arizona, both of which provided for my right to do remain mask-free. Citing the Americans with Disability Act and the relevant language in the declaration by the Arizona governor about masking in June of this year, I tried to make the point that the US and the State of Arizona prevailed, not Sprouts’ ‘policy’. Courteously.

She responded (absurdly, to my mind)  that Sprouts was willing to accommodate me since I could wait in my car and the staff would purchase what I wanted and bring it out to me at curbside. I again reminded her of the law  which precluded segregating people with disabilities and stigmatizing them. She explicitly confirmed that she was not interested in the law because there was a store ‘policy’ requiring masking under all conditions.

I turned and left, courteously thanking her for explaining store ‘policy’ to me, reminding her that I believe that ‘policy’, as she explained it to me, to be in violation of US and State law. I assured her that I would share this position on the part of her employer, Sprouts, with our hundreds of thousands of supporters, which is precisely what I am doing here. Read on.

So, no. That is not how it works. Sprouts, which claims $1.6 Billion in second quarter sales from its 350 stores [4] appears to believe that, like banks which were  “too big to fail” they are “too big to comply” with US and local law.

I beg to differ.

Here is the letter that I have sent to the Chairman of the Board of Sprouts Farmer’s Market:

To: Joseph Fortunato, Chairman of the Board< Sprouts Farmer’s Market

Dear Mr. Fortunato,

I am writing to you both as a former shopper at Sprouts and as the Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation to share with you my surprise and distress over your masking ‘policy’ which directly violates US and State law and, in so doing, puts my health at risk.

Because of your ‘policy’, I walked out of your Tucson AZ store at 4635 Speedway Boulevard and will not return until your ‘policy’ is altered to protect my rights and conform to the law.

Both the June 2020 Declaration of Governor Doucy (Arizona) and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) explicitly allow for the equitable and full accommodation of individuals who perceive that a certain behavior, circumstance or condition would undermine their health. [5]  In such a case, it is not permitted for the creator of those conditions to seek either information or validation, but they must accept the assertion of that limitation and accommodate it without segregating or stigmatizing the person who asserts their need for accommodation unless it can be shown that the person being so accommodated is directly endangering the well-being of others.

The Arizona declaration specifically states that people of whom masking would undermine health are exempt from masking requirements. The Americans with Disability Act grants the same protections to individuals without specifying masking, but specifying “breathing” issues.

Since neither you nor your staff can show that my unmasked presence puts anyone in danger (no matter what your personal belief or theirs about my respiratory health might be) and, indeed, CDC on August 24 amended their testing guidelines so that symptom-free people no longer should get tested, even if they have been in close contact with a COVID-19 victim, it is clear that symptom-free people are in no way a danger to themselves or others.

Yet, on the basis of a total lack of information to the contrary, your staff and his manager chose to exclude me from the essential activity of shopping, which I intended to do in your store, in violation of the US and State law.

This inappropriate behavior was ‘justified’ by the manager on duty as “store policy”.

I like Sprouts. I would like to shop at Sprouts. I would like to be able to recommend that my enormous, and very active mailing list of about 200,000 people, (who are all well aware of both ADA and their own States’ laws) shop at Sprouts, too. Instead, until your ‘policy’ has been modified to bring it into conformity with US and State law, I will not enter a Sprouts and advise them that if they choose not to wear a mask because it might undermine their mental, emotional or physical health, they would be well-advised not to shop at any of your stores, either.

I look forward to your speedy written response  to tell me that this matter has been fully resolved and your staff alerted to the rights of customers who choose not to wear masks so that my supporters and I can once again shop in your stores instead of avoiding them.

Please make sure that your employees understand that under US and State law, they are not permitted to seek either clarification or validation for this purpose, instead accommodating a customer’s assertion of his or her right to shop unmasked. Once I have that written clarification, in hand of course, I will share it with my supporters and ask them to share it with the people that they reach out to and to whom they have disseminated the the current unlawful Sprouts ‘policy’.

Please feel free to reach out directly to me at the following contact points:

Phone Number: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Email  xxxxxxxxxxxx#@yyyyyy.com

Yours in health and freedom,

Rima E. Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation         

Please share this issue about Sprouts as widely as you can to allow others for whom this is an issue to have access to this knowledge.

This is both a health and a civil rights issue.  Share, please, using this link:  http://www.opensourcetruth.com/sprouts-excludes-maskless-dr-rima-would-you-shop-there/

[1] http://investors.sprouts.com/governance/contact-the-board/default.aspx
[2] http://www.opensourcetruth.com/dr-rimas-masking-ebook/
[3] http://www.opensourcetruth.com/?s=Office+Depot
[4] http://investors.sprouts.com/corporate-profile/default.aspx
[5] http://www.opensourcetruth.com/ada-masking-exemption/

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