Beginning July 25, 2020, Governor Walz will require face coverings to be worn in Minnesota indoor businesses and indoor public settings. The following is a review of some key requirements in the face covering mandate appearing in Emergency Executive Order 20-81:
Where Are Face Masks Required?
- Inside all Minnesota businesses (exceptions below)
- Immediately outside a business’s entrance
- Taxi, buses, and similar fee for travel vehicles
- While working, volunteering, or interning outdoors when at least 6-feet between individuals is not maintained
- All other locations required by industry guidance for your business
Individuals violating the executive order may be charged with a petty misdemeanor and fined. Courthouses and federal buildings are excluded but may have their own requirements.
Employer Obligations. Employers of indoor businesses should be mindful of the following obligations under the new mandate:
- Require workers, interns, and volunteers to wear face coverings
- Instruct all visitors to comply with the face covering mandate
- Provide reasonable accommodations for those medically exempt
- Post sign(s) instructing business invitees to wear face coverings
- Update COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to address compliance with mandate
Any business, owner, or supervisor failing to comply with the executive order may be fined, imprisoned, or incur civil penalties. Businesses can also be temporarily shut down for noncompliance.
Exemptions. Individuals in the following situations and/or under the following circumstances will be exempt from the face-covering requirement:
- Age 5 years old or younger
- Experience difficulties breathing or physically functioning with a face covering
- Unable to remove own face covering without assistance
- Wearing a face covering at work is hazardous (determined by regulators or workplace safety and health standards)
- While alone or isolated (e.g. office, walled-in cubicle, cab of heavy machinery)
- Performing an exempt activity (e.g. exercising, lecturing, eating) and maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from others
This is not an exhaustive list of the exemptions. Please see the order for identification of other activities where a face covering is not required or may be temporarily removed.
Which Locations Are Excluded from the Mandate? Presence in any of the following locations will not trigger a requirement to wear a face covering unless the location has initiated its own face covering requirement:
- Living unit (e.g. house, hotel, retirement facility, etc.), unless entrance is for business
- Residential treatment facilities and programs; correctional facilities
- Driving alone or only with member(s) of your household
Special guidance is provided for childcare and educational facilities and workers. Employers and individuals should be mindful of their local and industry-specific requirements regarding face coverings. Contact your Gislason & Hunter LLP employment attorney today to discuss whether your employees and business are in compliance with the state mandate.
This notice is provided to serve as an overview of Minnesota Emergency Executive Order 20-81 and does not constitute legal advice.