Operating a business right now is undoubtedly stressful. On top of the challenges of returning to work during a pandemic and potentially struggling with a drop in business, Minnesota business owners must also navigate new mask regulations.

Recently, Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order mandating the use of face coverings for workers and patrons inside businesses and indoor public spaces. The requirement is to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while allowing businesses to operate safely. To ensure compliance with this order, business owners should understand some important factors.

Who must wear a mask?

All workers and customers at indoor businesses must wear a mask. Masks are also required in outdoor businesses if it is not possible for people to maintain social distance, which is a space of approximately six feet between people.

Businesses that do not enforce these policies not only put people’s health in danger, but they could also face criminal charges, fines and government enforcement actions.

What if someone cannot or will not wear a mask?

Businesses reserve the right to refuse service to people, including those who will not wear a face covering.

However, considering what a hot button issue masks can be for some, it is entirely possible that a business owner will be confronted by someone refusing to wear a face covering. Under these circumstances, business owners can refuse to let the person enter, serve them as quickly and safely as possible, or call law enforcement if confronting them safely is not an option.

Navigating a controversial regulation as a business owner

Wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has become a contentious issue. Because of this, Minnesota business owners can be in a tricky position of having to comply with a rule with which not everyone agrees.

However, ultimately, the business owner is responsible for adhering to public safety regulations and protecting the health and safety of their employees and customers. Should issues arise regarding compliance, seeking legal guidance can be helpful.