Governor: Stores must enforce mask order

Stores must refuse service and bar entry of customers who are not wearing facemasks, according to a new order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Stores that fail to do this risk having their license suspended. Stores also must post signs informing customers of their legal obligation to wear a mask.

Here is the key wording in the Governor’s order, which you can read in its entirety here.

To protect workers, shoppers, and the community, no business that is open to the public may provide service to a customer or allow a customer to enter its premises, unless the customer is wearing a face covering as required by this order.

  • Businesses that are open to the public must post signs at entrance(s) instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity may, in its discretion, require such businesses to post signs developed and made available by the Department, or conforming to requirements established by the Department.
  • A department or agency that learns that a licensee is in violation of this section will consider whether the public health, safety or welfare requires summary, temporary suspension of the business’s license to operate (including but not limited to a liquor license) under section 92 of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, as amended, MCL 24.292(2).

Michigan Retailers Association has lobbied the Governor’s office for months, encouraging the governor to put the burden of mask enforcement on local police agencies. Here is a statement from Bill Hallan, MRA President and CEO, on the latest order:

“Wearing a mask is an easy way to support and appreciate retail workers, and Michigan Retailers Association encourages all individuals to wear a mask when they shop in our great state. While retailers and retail employees appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s efforts to increase the number of residents wearing masks when in enclosed, public spaces, we are frustrated that she did not leave the policing to law enforcement officers. This puts retail employees in potentially dangerous situations when they’re forced to confront unmasked customers.

“Notably, the order includes various exemptions, and it still allows individuals to enter a public space without a mask if they cannot medically tolerate it. Determining the validity of an ambiguous exemption is an impossible task for a retailer. And now, even retailers acting in good faith could be subject to severe licensing sanctions based on the actions of non-compliant customers.

“We worry for retail employees’ safety and disagree with the overly aggressive penalties for retailers. When shopping, please wear a mask and understand that retailers are not to blame for the state’s mask requirement. Shopping has proven to be a safe activity, we can keep it safe and retail doors open by wearing a mask and being respectful of others.”

Michigan Retailers will keep you updated if LEO issues any signs that stores are required to post.

Meanwhile, we suggest that retailers post the wording below. A sign with this wording is downloadable here.

By Order of the Governor, masks are required for entry and service in this store, except for individuals who:

  1. Are younger than five years old;
  2. Cannot medically tolerate a face covering;
  3. Are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment;
  4. Are exercising when wearing a face covering would interfere in the activity;
  5. Are receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
  6. Are entering a business or are receiving a service and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;
  7. Are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;
  8. Are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;
  9. Are officiating at a religious service; or
  10. Are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.