The information provided on this resource page is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal advice. It is designed to assist our members and other housing providers in understanding COVID-19 and the issues it raises, but it is not intended to address specific circumstances or business situations. For specific legal questions, please consult your legal counsel.


Governor Issues Executive Order Mandating Wearing a Face Covering

Author: MHA/Wednesday, July 22, 2020/Categories: COVID-19

Today, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-81 requiring Minnesotans to wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings. Workers must also wear face coverings outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing. The Minnesota Department of Health has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions page about the requirement to wear face coverings.

IMPORTANT: The Executive Order requires face coverings to be worn by all individuals in all areas of multi-family dwellings, except for inside individual living units and for those situations which are otherwise exempt, such as when exercising at a fitness center or while swimming.

Executive Order 20-81 applies in indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, including when waiting outdoors to enter an indoor business or public indoor space.

  • The requirement does apply to multi-family common areas, hallways, and building entries.
  • The requirement does not apply inside living units, except that workers entering another person’s living unit for a business purpose are required to wear a face covering when doing so.

Business compliance
Businesses are compliant with Executive Order 20-81 if:

  1. Their workers are wearing face coverings as required by Executive Order 20-81.
  2. The business has updated their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to address the face covering requirement of Executive Order 20-81.
  3. The business has posted one or more signs that are visible to all persons – including workers, customers, and visitors – instructing them to wear face coverings as required by Executive Order 20-81.
  4. The business makes reasonable efforts to enforce this order with respect to customers and visitors.

Exempt Individuals
The following individuals are exempt from the face covering requirements under Executive Order 20-81:

  1. Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering.
  2. Children who are five years old and under.
  3. Individuals at their workplace when wearing a face covering would create a job hazard for the individual or others.

Individual violations

  • Individuals violating the order are guilty of a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.

Business violations

  • Businesses violating the order are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
  • In addition to these criminal penalties, the Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may seek any civil relief available pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 8.31, for violations of this Executive Order, including civil penalties up to $25,000 per occurrence from businesses and injunctive relief.

Effective date
The requirements of Executive Order 20-81 go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 24th.

Local governments may impose requirements more restrictive than those contained in the Executive Order.



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