Is it ok to provide releases to patients who state they cannot tolerate a mask?

Yes. If you are the primary provider and the patient has a documented medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a mask, then it would be appropriate to provide a release for the patient to use at his or her work. See Curi’s sample work release.

The CDC provides this exception for wearing a mask:

“Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”


For minors, the decision to provide a release to not wear a mask should be shared between the parent and physician based on discussion of previously documented medical conditions. Physicians should document these discussions with parents, outlining the benefits vs. risks as well as the agreed-upon decision based on the child’s medical condition. Physicians should also remind parents of the inherent risk of COVID-19 exposure simply being around others, and that not wearing a mask could potentially increase the child’s risk of exposure. Documentation of this conversation should also include names of the individuals present during the discussion along with the rationale behind the agreed-upon decision.

News & Knowledge
All Curi recommendations are based on current CDC criteria at the time of publication. CDC guidance for SARS-CoV-2 infection may, or may not, be adopted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances. Providers should always check with their local health department to see if the CDC’s guidance on any given topic has been modified (particularly if more restrictive) from the CDC’s recommended guidelines. Follow this link https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html for contact information to your state/local health department. If local recommendations vary from those of the CDC, and you are unsure what recommendations to follow, then it is safer to follow the more restrictive guidelines/recommendations.