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What to know about Minnesota's mask mandate

Alex Jokich
Updated: July 24, 2020 07:39 PM
Created: July 24, 2020 07:24 PM

Gov. Tim Walz announced an executive order Wednesday that requires Minnesotans to wear masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but there are still many questions about the order. Below is what you need to know about the order.

When does Minnesota's mask mandate go into effect?

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At 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 24.

What does the mandate mean for me?

You are required to wear a face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless you are alone. This applies to both employees and customers.

Can employees remove masks in private offices?

Yes, you can remove a mask while working alone in a closed office or cubicle with walls above face height, as long as social distancing is maintained.

How long will the mandate be in effect?

There is no specified end date. It remains in effect until the state’s peacetime emergency ends or the mandate is canceled by a proper authority.

Is there an age requirement?

The mandate applies to everyone 5 years of age and older. Those under the age of 2 should not wear a mask due to risk of suffocation.

Who is exempt from the executive order?

People with certain disabilities, medical or mental health conditions preventing them from wearing a mask can be exempt, although there is no specified list of excused medical problems. People who are exempt should consider alternatives to masks, such as clear face shields or staying home.

Who is tasked with enforcing the mandate?

It is the responsibility of businesses to make sure workers and customers are complying.

Can a business ask you to prove a medical condition?

No, they cannot require proof of your condition or ask about the nature of it.

If a customer is not wearing a mask and does not have a legitimate exemption, what steps should businesses take?

Businesses can take “appropriate disciplinary action,” including asking a customer to wear a face covering, declining service, offering alternatives (such as curbside pick-up) or calling police, if necessary. Businesses should not physically restrain or remove people in any way that is outside their normal business practices.

Does the mandate apply to churches and other places of worship?

Yes.

Are kids in schools required to wear masks?

Yes, kindergarten through 12th-grade students should wear masks.

Are you required to wear a mask while using public transportation or ride-sharing services?

Yes.

Do you need to wear a mask in your own home or car?

No.

Can you carry a handgun while wearing a mask?

Yes, if you have a legal permit to carry.

Should you confront someone who is not wearing a mask?

Not unless you are a business owner or manager responsible for worker and customer compliance. If you are a member of the public, simply keep your distance.

Is there a penalty for not wearing a mask in the required settings?

Yes, individuals who do not comply could face a petty misdemeanor, with a fine up to $100. Businesses (and their owners and management) face heightened penalties, including up to 90 days in jail, $1,000 fine and up to $25,000 in civil penalties, along with regulatory enforcement actions. State officials said they hope the public will voluntarily comply with the order and enforcement is not the goal.

Should I report violations of the executive order?

You can contact local law enforcement. For violations related to worker health and safety, you can contact the Department of Labor and Industry. To report restaurant, pool or hotel violations, contact a local public health agency. More information on reporting violations can be found here.

Where can I find more details about Minnesota’s masking requirement?

The Minnesota Department of Health's website.


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