The following article originally appeared on StarTribune.com on Thursday, May 21.
Starting next week, people in Minneapolis will need to wear masks or cloth face coverings when going to businesses or other public buildings.
Mayor Jacob Frey signed an order Thursday that will require people over the age of 2 to wear a covering over their nose and mouth when they are inside “indoor spaces of public accommodation.”
The order includes in that definition retail stores, government buildings, schools and recreation centers and “rental establishments,” among other facilities.
People who own those types of businesses must require their workers to wear masks “whenever such employees have face-to-face contact with the public.”
The requirement begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Violating it could result in a misdemeanor charge or, in the case of businesses, actions against their license.
The order does make exceptions for people who have medical conditions that make it unsafe for them to wear a mask.
Minneapolis had 2,098 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday evening.
Frey wrote in his order that, “According to the CDC, because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted by respiratory droplets, population density plays a significant role in the acceleration of transmission and cities like Minneapolis, the densest city in the State of Minnesota, are at a higher risk while also serving a greater proportion of vulnerable populations;”
The mask requirement comes after Gov. Tim Walz announced plans to relax some restrictions on businesses, but kept others in places to encourage social distancing.
This was the 12th executive order Frey has signed since the city declared a public health emergency in March. Earlier orders limited bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery, boosted safety precautions in nursing homes and other care facilities and allowed the city to speed up its purchasing process for emergency supplies.
Frey, and other Minneapolis officials, are expected to discuss the new order Thursday afternoon.