According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), face coverings are effective in preventing the transmission of respiratory droplets that may spread COVID-19.
Ideally, face coverings should be worn in combination with other infection control measures, including social distancing, but face coverings are especially important in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain. As the CDC has explained, face coverings are most effective when they are worn by all individuals in public settings when around others outside of their households because many people infected with COVID-19 do not show symptoms. Consistent with this guidance, Minnesota has strongly recommended widespread use of face coverings since April. An increasing number of states are now mandating face coverings in certain settings to control the spread of COVID-19.
For these reasons, beginning July 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Minnesotans must wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, including when waiting outdoors to enter an indoor business or public indoor space. This order and the related industry guidance, is available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafe.mn.gov), as well as any other guidance referenced in this order.
A “face covering” must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering. When leaving home, Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to have a face covering with them at all times to be prepared to comply with the requirements of this Executive Order.
Exempt Individuals: a. Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering. These individuals should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields, and staying at home as much as possible. b. Children who are five years old and under. Those who are under two-years old should never wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation. Those who are at least two are encouraged to wear a face covering if they can do so in compliance with CDC guidance on How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings. c. Individuals at their workplace when wearing a face covering would create a job hazard for the individual or others, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety and health standards and guidelines.
Any individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $100. This does not apply to: (1) children younger than 14 years old; or (2) students 14 years old and older who are enrolled in a school or higher education institution, and who are on the premises of the school or institution for educational purposes.