On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Governor Walz issued an Executive Order requiring face coverings to be worn in most indoor businesses and indoor settings, as well as certain outdoor situations. This ordinance goes into effect July 24, 2020 at 11:59pm
More specifically, the Order requires that face coverings, defined as a covering that covers the nose and mouth completely, be worn in indoor businesses and indoor public settings. This includes individuals waiting outdoors to enter an indoor business. Workers must also wear face coverings outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. The Order specifically states that masks/face coverings that incorporate a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings. This part of the order was meant to prohibit use of certain types of masks and face coverings favored by anti-face covering/mask groups to protest or ignore face covering orders in other states.
The Order applies to:
- Indoor businesses (including employees and customers)
- Indoor public settings (inclusive of apartment and similar multi-tenant common areas)
- Public transit
- Taxis, rideshare (e.g. Uber, Lift), and vehicles being used for business purposes
- In all other businesses and venues where the business (even if not required by the Order) has mandated that a face covering be worn
- For workers only, when working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained
- When applicable industry guidance issued by the State of Minnesota specifically requires face coverings.
The Order does not apply to:
- Federal activities
- Legislative proceedings
- Judicial branch proceedings (courts have their own requirements)
- Tribal lands and activities
- Individuals with a medical condition
- Children 5 years of age and under
- Individuals at a workplace when wearing a face covering would create a job hazard for the individual or others
- Individuals in a living unit with their own household (but service providers entering the living unit of another household must wear face coverings)
- Private vehicles being used for private (non-commercial) purposes
Face coverings can be removed for certain activities including:
- Participating in organized sports indoors (where level of exertion makes wearing a face covering difficult)
- Exercising indoors where level of exertion makes wearing a face covering difficult and social distancing can be maintained
- When testifying, speaking, or performing in an indoor business or public indoor space (e.g. theater, news conference, legal proceedings, government meetings, presentations, and lectures) provided that social distancing is maintained.
- Practices and performances for a musical instrument (where a face covering cannot be worn) provided that social distancing is maintained
- During activities where the face covering will get wet, such as showering and swimming
- When eating or drinking in an indoor space (with social distancing)
- When a face covering must be removed to verify identity
- While communicating with a deaf or hearing impaired person
- When receiving services where a face covering cannot be worn, such as dental services, personal care, or a medical examination
- When an individual is alone in a business space, such as alone in an office, a room, a cubicle with walls higher than face level where social distancing is maintained, a vehicle, or the cab of heavy equipment/machinery, or other enclosed work area.
- When a public safety worker (e.g. law enforcement, firefighter, etc..) is actively engaged in a public safety role where wearing a face covering would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety responsibilities.
All businesses are required to post a sign or signs visible to all persons, inclusive of workers, customers, and visitors, instructing them to wear face coverings as required by the Order and to require that the same groups wear a face covering in the business. Businesses may not require customers to provide proof of a medical condition or disability preventing them from wearing a face covering, but must, where possible, make accommodations for workers and customers who say they have such condition. Businesses cannot use face covering requirements as a pretext to discriminate or otherwise violate any other state, federal, or local law. Cities in Minnesota are permitted to have more restrictive requirements than the Minnesota state order, but may not have looser restrictions.
Individuals who violate willfully violates the order may be charged with a petty misdemeanor and subject to fines not to exceed $100 (children younger than 14 and certain types of students may not be charged with a violation individually).
Businesses that do not comply with the Order could be fined up to $25,000 and an owner, manager, or supervisor may be filed up to $1000 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days.
Virtus Law, PLLC continues to monitor developments in this (and other COVID-19 areas) and will continue to post relevant updates to this website.