Hersheypark denies entry to boy with autism because of mask rules

Coronavirus

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – Face masks are required to be worn in public spaces in Pennsylvania. Hersheypark enforces that policy, and that meant denying entrance for a mother with a child she says can’t wear one.

The boy’s mother says her family has been to Hersheypark several times with no problems and is not looking for anything other than being allowed back in. But Hersheypark says it’s just looking out for the health and safety of everyone at the park with its policies. That includes more cleaning, adding 300 hand sanitizers, temperature screenings, managing the number of people let in, enforcing social distancing, and requiring face coverings. A local mom is upset her son wasn’t let into the park on Friday.

In a facebook video, Pamela Heinbaugh said, “denied us entry to the park because my disabled child, which if you can’t tell this should give it away, can’t wear a mask.”

Hersheypark says it allows the use of face shields if you can’t wear a mask due to health reasons.

“He has severe asthma so he can’t cover his face, and as you can see, he’s autistic so he won’t wear anything on his head,” said Heinbaugh.

“A face mask, a face shield, it’s still got pressure on the head, it’s still out of the ordinary,” said Mark Davis, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability.

Davis say it’s a tough situation and believes Hersheypark is looking out for the best interest of its guests and workers, while Heinbaugh is looking out for her son. He believes better communication is the key.

“I think it’s a person at a time and I know most businesses can’t afford to take it a person at a time, but with a person with a disability, that’s how you have to take it,” said Davis.

Hersheypark says its policy is for the safety of everyone at the park during this pandemic.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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