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When you have to wear a face mask, and when you don't have to in Minnesota

The ordinance goes into effect on Saturday.

Beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 23, Minnesota's mask mandate goes into effect. There are numerous instances where Minnesotans will be required to wear a mask in public/indoor spaces, in addition to a variety of situations where masks aren't required or can be temporarily removed. 

You can find the full executive order from Gov. Tim Walz right here, but below are easy-to-read list views of masking scenarios. A mask, by the way, is defined in the order as "a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering." 

In short, masks are required in "indoor business or public indoor space, including when waiting outdoors to enter" such a place. The mandate doesn't apply in your place of residence, but if a worker enters your home, they must wear a mask. 

Overall, it's pretty "common sense," according to Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. Here are the scenarios. 

When you must wear a mask

  • Indoor businesses or public indoor spaces, including when waiting outdoors to enter. 
  • Public transportation (taxi, bus, train, ride-share). 
  • When riding in vehicles for business purposes. 
  • Any business, venue or public space. 
  • Workers who are outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.

  • All students, staff, and other persons present indoors in school buildings and district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles (kids 5 and under are exempt). 

  • Students with developmental, behavioral or medical reasons for not wearing a mask must instead wear a face shield. Any student who finds a mask problematic can replace it with a face shield. 

When you needn't wear a mask

  • At home
  • In a private vehicle
  • Children 5 years of age or younger. 
  • Children under 2 should never wear a mask due to risk of suffocation. 

When masks can be temporarily removed

  • Participating in organized sports in an indoor business or indoor public space when the level of exertion makes it hard to wear a face covering. 
  • When exercising at a gym or fitness center and a mask makes it harder to breathe. 
  • When testifying, speaking, or performing in an indoor business. 
  • During performances, like playing a musical instrument. 
  • During activities where the mask will get wet (swimming, showering). 
  • When eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. 
  • When asked to remove a mask to confirm identity. 
  • During procedures that require taking the mask off (dentist, doctor, etc.).
  • When working alone when social distancing is maintained and walls around you are above your face. 
  • Law enforcement when wearing a mask could interfere with the job. 
  • Student can remove masks during recess or physical education, and when eating/drinking. 
  • Social gatherings with family and friends. 
  • Riding in a private vehicle with friends or family who don't live together. 
  • Inside your home if you're infected with COVID-19. 
  • When participating in organized sports. 
  • When moving around public spaces at restaurants, bars, waiting in line. 

Details on masking rules for child care settings can be found here

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