New Mask Enforcement Requirements for Businesses

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space and crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering.  As the order states, “No shirts, no shoes, no mask—no service.” The requirements for businesses take effect at 12:01 am on Monday, July 13. Individual requirements within the order, such as wearing a mask in any indoor public space, take effect immediately.

Under the order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply, and must post signage at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment. Further limited exemptions are located under section 2 of the order (more information below). A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement.

For the business community, on page 4, section 3 the order states (emphasis added):

“3. 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.

a. 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.

b. 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).”


Under section 2 of the order, there are limited exemptions to wearing face coverings:

“2. The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to individuals who:

a. Are younger than five years old, though children two years old and older are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering, pursuant to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”);

b. Cannot medically tolerate a face covering;

c. Are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment;

d. Are exercising when wearing a face covering would interfere in the activity;

e. Are receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;

f. Are entering a business or are receiving a service and are asked to temporarily
remove a face covering for identification purposes;

g. Are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;

h. Are actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;

i. Are officiating at a religious service; or

j. Are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.”

As more resources become available, we will work to provide them to our business community.

Printable Signage Resource

Some printable signage for businesses in northern Michigan may be found here.

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