Mask mandate in Minnesota begins Saturday

July 23, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz (pictured) signed Executive Order 20-81 Wednesday, which requires Minnesotans to wear a face-covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings.

Researchers have advocated for masking, calling it a simple and effective step to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To date, 30 states across the country, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico have issued similar mandates.

“COVID-19 has impacted every corner of our state and every aspect of our lives,” said Governor Walz. “But as Minnesotans always do during tough times, we come together and we take care of one another. And right now there’s no better way to demonstrate our Minnesotan values than by wearing a mask. By combatting the spread of COVID-19, masking will help protect our neighbors, keep our businesses open, and get us on track to return to the activities we love.

“Wearing a making is the quickest path to reopening our economy,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove. “By wearing a mask, Minnesotans are helping keep businesses and communities open. Masks are more than just a courtesy – they are essential to protecting employees and customers.”

The mandate goes into effect on ​Saturday, July 25. DEED and MDH will be working together to distribute masks to underserved communities and businesses across the state.

Over the past several weeks, business owners and medical professionals have been showing their support for a mask mandate, saying it takes the burden off them to enforce people’s behaviors.

Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering are exempt from the order. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and individuals who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.

These individuals should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields, and staying at home as much as possible.

Children who are five-years-old and under are also exempt. Those who are under two-years-old should never wear a face-covering due to the risk of suffocation.

While the goal of this Executive Order is voluntary compliance, not enforcement, any individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and upon conviction can be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.

​Businesses willfully violating this Executive Order are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail. The Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may also seek civil penalties from businesses who are in violation of this Executive Order.