Executive Order Mandating Face Coverings in Minnesota
On Saturday, July 25, people in Minnesota were required to begin wearing face coverings in all public indoor spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 per Executive Order 20-81 issued by Governor Walz. Workers are also required to wear a face covering when working outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible.
It is important to note the order requires face coverings be worn by all individuals in communal office and building spaces (e.g., restrooms, breakrooms and lobbies). However masks are not required when an individual is alone in an office, room, or cubicle with walls that are higher than face level and social distancing is maintained. Outlined below are answers to commonly asked questions about the requirements of the new Executive Order.
1. How does your business stay compliant with the face covering mandate?
A business is in compliance with the Executive Order if:
- Their workers are wearing face coverings as required by the Executive Order;
- The business has updated their COVID-19 preparedness plan to address the face covering requirements of the Executive Order;
- The business has posted one or more signs visible to all workers, customers, and visitors instructing them to wear face coverings as required by the Executive Order;
- The business makes reasonable efforts to enforce the Executive Order with respect to customers and visitors.
2. Are businesses responsible for requiring that workings, customers, and visitors wear a face covering?
Yes, it is the responsibility of the business to require that its workers, customers, and visitors are wearing face coverings consistent with the provisions of Executive Order 20-81.
Businesses must update their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to align with the requirements of the order, and they must communicate to workers and customers that face coverings must be worn when required by the order.
3. Is there anyone who doesn't have to wear a face covering?
Yes, the following individuals are exempt from this order:
- Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering;
- Those who when wearing a face covering while on the job could be at risk of creating a job hazard for themselves or others; and
- Children who are five years old or younger.
4. Is there a penalty for not wearing a face covering?
Yes, businesses violating the order may be subject to criminal charges including a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment of no more than 90 days. Businesses could also face civil penalties from the Attorney General and local governments.
Individuals who fail to comply with the Executive Order may receive a petty misdemeanor citation and a fine of up to $100.
Action Steps for Employers
Employers should take the necessary steps outlined in the answer to question one above to make sure they are compliant with the face covering mandate. Employers should also review the Minnesota Department of Health’s FAQs About the Requirements to Wear Face Coverings.
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Our team at North Risk Partners will continue to monitor regulatory updates and guidance related to the COVID-19 outbreak and send you information as it becomes available. We are here to help you through this and face the risk of this virus head on, which to us is about helping you proactively control what you can control with facts and evidence-based information. Thank you for continuing to trust us with your business and doing your part to help protect our communities by controlling the spread of COVID-19.
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If you have questions related to this update, please contact your North Risk Partners advisor. Don’t have an advisor? No problem. We’ll help you find one.
This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.