Bridge Law Group, Ltd. (“BLG”) seeks to help clients reduce risks and avoid unnecessary liability by providing proactive risk management advice. Our Visionary Counsel Upstream tagline is intended to encourage our clients to consult with us in anticipation of new business ventures, changes in circumstances, or the need for general guidance.
In that spirit, we wish to ensure that our clients are aware of and understand the new mask mandate in Minnesota, ordered pursuant to Governor Tim Walz’s July 22, 2020 Emergency Executive Order 20-81 (the “Order”), which generally requires Minnesotans to wear face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public settings and also generally requires workers to wear face coverings outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. The Order identifies a number of exceptions to the general mandate and describes where mask wearing is mandatory, encouraged, and/or temporarily excusable. Paragraph 20 of the Order contains the enforcement provisions and identifies penalties for non-compliance by individuals and businesses. These penalties range from petty misdemeanors and $100 fines for individuals to misdemeanors and $1,000 fines for business owners, managers, or supervisors.
Businesses are required under Paragraphs 13-15 of the Order to take certain affirmative steps, including:
- Require that all persons wear face coverings;
- Include face covering requirements in the business’ COVID-19 Preparedness Plan;
- Post one or more signs visible to all persons, including workers, customers, and visitors, instructing them to wear face coverings;
- When possible, provide accommodations to persons who state they have a condition that makes it unreasonable to maintain a face covering. These accommodations may include providing an alternative form of face covering (e.g., face shield) or providing service alternatives that do not require entering the business.
Businesses may not require customers to provide proof of a condition justifying the accommodation. Businesses are not required to enforce the face mask requirement when it is not safe to do so. Additional information about the steps businesses can take to ensure compliance can be found at www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus.html#masks.
According to media reports, there were 80 complaints of violations of the Order received by the Minnesota Department of Health in the first weekend it was effective. As public awareness, and anxiety, grows, it is likely that complaints and enforcement will become more prevalent. The Order is also likely to be cited in lawsuits related to COVID-19 concerning whether a business abided by an appropriate COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and the law.
BLG can assist in the preparation of a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and offer guidance on best practices for reopening businesses and reintroducing employees to their former work environment.
If you have questions or would like to discuss a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, then please feel free to reach out to attorney Sam Stern or another Bridge Law Group, Ltd. attorney to schedule a consultation.
BRIDGE LAW GROUP, LTD.
Samuel L Stern | Attorney (Minnesota & California)
2900 Washington Avenue North | Minneapolis, MN 55411-1630
Direct: (763) 201-1205 | Cell: (612) 868-6777 | Fax: (763) 201-7899
Stern@bridgeattorneys.com | www.BridgeAttorneys.com | LinkedIn
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