Minneapolis to require masks for indoor 'places of public accommodation'

Minneapolis will require store customers to wear masks -- even if Target doesn't.

Minneapolis will require store customers to wear masks -- even if Target doesn't. Associated Press

Good news, if you're sick of going shopping in Minneapolis and passing within inches of people not wearing a mask.

Or, if you're sick of going to the store without a mask and wondering: "Why is everyone glaring at me?"

This afternoon, Mayor Jacob Frey willl announce that "cloth masks or coverings" will be mandatory at all "indoor places of accommodation" in Minneapolis. 

The announcement of Frey's order, which will be explained in a 3:00 p.m. conference call, names "retail stores, hotels, government buildings, schools and universities, recreational facilities, and service centers" as examples of such places, though perhaps not an exhaustive list.

News of the imminent declaration, which will be Frey's 12th emergency order -- and most widely felt since the decision to close bars and restaurants from dine-in service -- didn't say when it will go into effect, or how enforcement will work. 

Similar measures are in place statewide in places like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois. Meanwhile some major business chains, including Menards, Costco, and Aldi, have mandatory mask policies for customers, while others, such as Target and Cub Foods, are asking customers to wear masks, but only requiring them for their employees.

Henenepin County has seen more than 6,000 cases of coronavirus through Wednesday, according to the Department of Health, and 502 deaths, with 185 new positive tests and 17 deaths reported yesterday.

We'll update this post with more details as they become available. 

UPDATE: Frey's emergency regulation spells out the details of which people and situations are covered by the order, which goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. May 26, and applies to anyone two years of age or older who is "medically able to tolerate a face covering." The rule applies to customers and employees alike, provided the workers have "face-to-face contact" with patrons.

The mask requirement applies to "a business, or an educational, refreshment, entertainment, or recreation facility, or an institution of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public," according to the regulation. Masks must cover the nose and mouth, but do not need to be "medical-grade." 

Those found in violation of the regulation may receive a warning letter, a citation (if a business), "and/or misdemeanor prosecution," the regulation states. An accompanying statement says the city will hold a mask drive "to help get masks to those who need them before the regulation takes place," and that incidents of non-compliance should be called in to 311.