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Bookstore evicts Paralympic athlete born with no hands because she couldn’t put a mask on

'My elbows don’t bend…so putting on a mask is impossible'
Fri Dec 18, 2020 - 9:29 am EST
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Canadian Paralympic swimmer Elisabeth Walker-Young UBCjournalism / Vimeo

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, December 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A four-time Paralympic athlete born with no hands was recently evicted from a Canadian bookstore for not wearing a mask, despite the fact she is physically unable to put one on herself without help. 

“When I am out with my daughter or my husband, they will help me put on a mask. But when I am out in the world independently, I just can’t do it,” said athlete Elisabeth Walker-Young told Global News

“My elbows don’t bend…so putting on a mask is impossible,” she explained.

The incident took place at the Indigo-Chapters bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia. Walker-Young was told to leave for not wearing a mask, despite the fact she explained to the store staff that her disability prevented her from wearing a mask. 

“It’s just not fair. I am not an anti-masker. I actually don’t go out often because I am trying not to make people feel uncomfortable, which is an awful way to navigate the world,” said Walker-Young about the incident. 

Walker-Young told the news network that staff threatened to call the police if she refused to leave.

According to the Global News report, the Order of Canada recipient decided to go to Indigo-Chapters after speaking with a mother whose son with a disability was denied entry into another Indigo Chapters for not wearing a mask a few weeks ago. 

That incident saw 12-year-old Andrew Chiao, who has autism, denied entry into a Burnaby Indigo Chapters because he is unable to wear a mask due to his disability. 

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Andrew’s mother, Tina Chiao has now filed a human rights complaint regarding the incident. 

“We have been in other public settings, grocery stores, transit — and everyone has been really accommodating of Andrew’s extra needs,” said Chiao about the incident regarding her son as reported by Global News. 

“I think people with disabilities are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and you have a group of people who are already excluded and now they are being further excluded.” 

The province of British Columbia has had a mask mandate for all indoor areas in effect since November 19, but exemptions exist for those unable to wear one, such as those with a health condition, or a mental, physical, psychological, or behavioral condition. 

According to the Global News report, Indigo Chapters said that they will continue to stop those who try and enter their stores without a mask, even if they have an exemption.

An Ontario man recently found himself one of the latest victims to his provincial COVID-19 rules after mall “cops” slammed him to the floor for violating the mall’s rules of mandatory mask-wearing and banning eating in its food court.  

Contact information: 

Indigo-Chapters

620 King St. W. Suite 400,

Toronto, ON M5V 1M6

Phone: 416-364-4499

Email: [email protected]


  coronavirus restrictions, elisabeth walker-young, mask mandates

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