Mask Mandate Implemented in Minnesota

As had been expected, MN Governor Tim Walz has issued Executive Order 20-81 (attached) which implements a statewide mask mandate.  Beginning July 25, 2020 all Minnesotans will be required to wear a mask in all public indoor spaces and businesses, unless alone.  The mask mandate also requires workers to wear a mask when working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.MN Department of Health mask mandate

A quick summary:
  • The public must now wear masks indoors, and outdoors when waiting in lines for service when social distancing is not possible.
  • Children under 5 and individuals with health conditions that make wearing a mask difficult are exempt.
  • Masks are required for workers indoors, and outdoors when they cannot maintain appropriate social distance. They are not required when individuals are working alone.
  • In restaurants, masks must be worn by all occupants when entering, moving about and leaving an establishment. They are not required while eating or drinking.
  • Businesses are encouraged to post clear signage to guests about the mandate. Businesses are not required, though may elect, to refuse service to a patron not wearing a mask.

The Governor said that in the long run, the mask mandate or requirement is the quickest way to ending the COVID-19 pandemic – adding that it is an economic key to ensuring that businesses are open and stay open.  Governor Walz said the Department of Employment and Economic Development with the Department of Health will distribute masks to people who do not have them including underserved communities and businesses across the state.

Mask mandate MNThe Department of Administration has procured 4 million disposable masks which will be distributed to local Chambers of Commerce in all 87 counties across the state for distribution in their areas.  Law enforcement will also be given masks to distribute to people who do not have one.   Lt. Governor Flanagan also provided remarks in support of the mask requirement, talking about how she lost her brother to COVID-19 a few months ago.  To date, over 30 states have implemented mask requirements.

The Governor’s press release states “Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering are exempt from the order. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. These individuals should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields, and staying at home as much as possible.  Children who are five-years-old and under are also exempt. Those who are under two-years-old should never wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.”

Additionally, the press release states, “While the goal of this Executive Order is voluntary compliance, not enforcement, any individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction can be punished by a fine not to exceed $100. Businesses willfully violating this Executive Order are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail. The Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may also seek civil penalties from businesses who are in violation of this Executive Order.”

More information on the mask mandate can be found at these links:

  • Frequently Asked Questions About the Mask Mandate and about Wear Face Coverings:  link
  • Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations under Executive Order 20-81:  link

Additional details about mask coverings can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website here:

www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html#masks

 

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