This afternoon Gov. Walz announced Executive Order 20.81 a statewide mandate requiring people in Minnesota to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces and indoor businesses. Masks are also required in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. The order will go into effect Friday, July 24 at 11:59 p.m. Children under 5 years old and those with a disability or medical exemption are excused from the mandate.

As of today, 28 states in the country have implemented similar mask mandates. Gov. Walz said the goals of the executive order are to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system, keep businesses open, get kids back in school, and get closer to physically interacting with elderly relatives. More than 20 cities and local governments in Minnesota had imposed their own mask mandates before the Governor’s executive order, and local governments can still choose to impose stricter restrictions than the state mandate.

The mask mandate includes commercial spaces, such as retail stores and offices. Employees must wear masks indoors and outdoors when it is not possible to be socially distant. Businesses are responsible for enforcing compliance of staff and customers; however, Gov. Walz stated compliance, not enforcement, is the goal of this order. Anyone who fails to comply with the executive order may receive a petty misdemeanor citation and a fine of up to $100. Any business owner, manager or supervisor who fails to comply with the executive order may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. If an employee is working alone in an office or a cube, a mask is not required. Clear signage is required to inform employees and customers that masks are required.

More specific information on Minnesota’s face covering requirements and frequently asked questions can be found here.