NEW HOPE, Minn. — Since June 10, Minnesota law has required restaurant employees to wear masks. It was part of the deal for re-opening indoor dining.
Now most customers must wear them too.
The new state law requires almost everyone to wear a face covering not just in restaurants but all indoor settings. "Willful violators" could face a $100 fine.
People with specific medical conditions are exempt. So are kids under five years old. However, the state recommends kids two to five wear masks. Anyone under two should not wear a mask.
Many metro-area cities already had similar rules in place — Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, White Bear Lake — but not New Hope, where Country Kitchen Restaurant is located.
"Our first table of the day came in and refused to wear a mask and they actually just left," manager Kristin Johnson said. "It wasn't a confrontation or anything like that. They saw the signs hung seeing that masks are required and didn't want to comply."
Johnson says, other than that, most customers have complied. In fact, before the mandate went into effect at midnight Saturday, about 40 percent of customers wore masks on their own. Now, it's up to about 95 percent, she says. The restaurant also makes it easier on customers by selling disposable masks for $1 each.
"Today has been a lot of takeout orders," Johnson said. "A little bit slower today, but that's kind of to be expected. I feel like once there's something new that has been put in place people have to take a day or two to get used to it."
Here are few more reminders about the mandate. If you're going out to a restaurant, you don't have wear a mask while trying to eat.
If you live in an apartment or condo building, you are required to wear a face covering in the common areas.
The health department says if you see someone not wearing a mask, don't confront them. Instead try to move 6 feet away or politely ask them to socially distance.