Minnesota Retailers Association Statement on Statewide Face Covering Order - July 22, 2020
We appreciate Governor Walz’s approach and direct outreach on his statewide face covering order. This order impacts all retailers, many of which already have a similar store policy in place or are subject to a local masking requirement.
We know from seeing orders in other states when retailers are expected to be the enforcer of mask orders it can be dangerous for retail employees. Minnesota’s approach leads with a strong expectation of compliance and education but stops short of making your neighborhood retail worker responsible for denying service to non-compliant customers. Stores will deal with non-compliant customers in the same way they deal with a customer violating any other store policy.
The Governor puts an expectation in place through signage and “reasonable notification” language. Ultimately Minnesotans are asked and expected to follow the order and we know retailers and their employees will do their very best to help customers understand the order.
We continue to appreciate dialogue with the Governor, Commissioner Grove and others in the administration on how to protect workers and Minnesotans shopping in their community stores while promoting essential economic activity to keep the State moving forward. We are hopeful a masking mandate is balanced with increases in occupancy at stores as the Governor has suggested.
We hope this order also encourages important uniformity across the state. Consistent with how we feel about labor laws and other regulations, a statewide, uniform approach would be far better for consumers, employees and businesses than community-by-community patchworks that fail to recognize mobility and how Minnesotans shop and work today. While the Governor’s order does not explicitly preempt local orders, many local masking requirements in place today are supersede by State action.
To continue down a path to recovery we need the shopping public to feel comfortable visiting their favorite stores. Our research shows that the first four months of the pandemic has been difficult on a majority of retailers. In addition to 20% to 70% sales losses, COVID-19 has cost the average Minnesota small business retailer between $5,000 and $50,000 in store modifications, technology changes, cleaning supplies, and signage.
Local units of government have taken action to require face coverings. Below is a digest of local actions.
NOTE: Most local order are superseded by Governor Walz's Executive Order 20-81 establishing a statewide masking requirement. Click here to learn more about the statewide order taking effect July 25, 2020. See each community below to review the status of each local order as it relates to the statewide order.
- University of Minnesota - The University of Minnesota order stands as the prevailing order. July 1 effective date: Face masks required in any enclosed or indoor space of university campuses and properties. On-campus apartments and dorm rooms are an exception. https://safe-campus.umn.edu/return-campus/face-coverings
- MSP Airport - The Metropolitan Airports Commission order standa as the prevailing order. July 27 effective date: Face masks required in public spaces including outdoor locations where social distancing is not possible. https://www.mspairport.com/TravelConfidently
After another night of deep unrest and significant destruction of property in Minneapolis and to some degree in other parts of the metro, we want to provide you a few updates.
- CURFEWS: The vast majority of local governments in the metro have instituted curfews that continue tonight from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., with a few variations on the times. Please check with your local government for times and updates on how curfews impact employees traveling to and from work. Curfews are likely to and should be enforced to a much greater degree than last night as a tool to maintain order and prevent looting and arson.
- LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE: According to the plans discussed this morning by the Governor and key law enforcement leaders, this evening Minneapolis and St. Paul are positioned to enforce curfews as a means to identify and deal with vandals, looters and those setting fires. Please take a moment to remind your employees of the importance of obeying the curfews as a tool to separate those peacefully protesting and living their lives from those committing unlawful acts. Minneapolis, St. Paul and the State plan a large law enforcement presence this evening and have created the expectation they will be addressing those out past curfew as a tool for curbing unlawful activities.
- POP UP LOOTING: Pop up looting and property destruction continues to occur around the metro, not just in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Targeted business tend to be liquor, high-end clothing, tobacco, phones, electronics, pharmacy and convenience stores, but frankly no retailer is immune to this activity. We recommend all metro stores consider appropriate actions to safeguard your customers, employees and inventory. We have seen a number of store closures, boarding up of windows and communication with local law enforcement to help assess the situation.
- SHORT-TERM: We hope for a better night tonight but unfortunately recommend retailers plan as if unrest continues.
Some MnRA members have experienced complete or partial store losses. In addition, all retailers including our small businesses and new American-owned businesses are experiencing customer impacts only exacerbating the current COVID-19 environment.
MnRA is in communication with elected officials and law enforcement, and any retailer is welcome to contact us at any time for assistance.
We continue to pray for peace and justice, with the family of George Floyd, our communities, and a restoration of peace at the center of those prayers.
Good afternoon MnRA members. Just an FYI that a curfew will be instituted by the Governor for Minneapolis and St. Paul beginning this evening from 8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. The curfew will be evaluated on a day by day basis.
Just a quick note as I am sure those of you with stores in the metro area are monitoring the unrest closely.
We have noted some instances where local police departments are recommending to businesses that they consider closing due to mobile groups that are looting stores or the potential for looting is high. In anticipation of demonstrations, Metro Transit has shut down light rail service and bus service will stop as of 4:00 p.m.
- Monitor your local police department’s social media feed or make a call to seek the advice of law enforcement.
- Error on the side of the safety of your employees and customers as you make decisions over the next couple of days, being mindful of how quickly situations can change.
- Be prepared to secure and close your store.
- Create a quick inventory of products on hand in the event you would need to file an insurance claim, including pictures and a date stamp.
Our hearts ache in this situation. We pray for justice and peace, and that stores are kept in a position where they are ready to the serve community needs in a safe, peaceful environment.
Please let us know if you need anything.