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Minnesota Retailers Association Statement on Statewide Face Covering Order - July 22, 2020

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.

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