GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Do customers have rights to refuse wearing a mask or face covering?
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed an emergency order Thursday that makes wearing a mask or face covering mandatory inside indoor public spaces. Frey announced during a press conference that face coverings will be required for anyone over the age of two inside retail stores, hotels, government buildings, schools and universities, recreational facilities, service centers and - once they're back open - bars and restaurants. The order will go into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 and will continue until further notice. The new order doesn't require masks, but people will be required to cover their nose and mouth, which could be done with a bandanna or cloth scarf. This week, a Costco employee was trending online for how he handled an encounter with a customer. The Costco employee told the man to leave the store after he refused to wear a mask. Costco requires every employee and customer in its stores to wear masks that cover the mouth and the nose to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The incident was captured on video and had nearly seven million views. It left people online asking the following question: Do customers have any rights?
While decisions to cancel or postpone many of Minnesota's iconic summer events have already been made, one is still out, a choice so impactful that it is the equivalent of a 12,000-pound elephant in the room. The Minnesota State Fair board of managers will meet Friday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss the status of the 2020 fair. The board does not say on its website that a final decision will be made on whether the event will go on. There is no doubt that the clock is ticking on The Great Minnesota Get-Together, a massive 12-day undertaking that involves coordinating thousands of exhibitors, performers and workers. MPR's Tim Nelson reports fair officials have been telling vendors and participants that they expect to make a final decision soon to allow food stands, attractions and exhibitors enough time to plan appropriately. Governor Tim Walz did not sound optimistic as recently as April 24 when he was asked about the fair during his daily COVID-19 briefing, saying he thought it would be difficult to see the State Fair operating. Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said April 23 that there is no specific date by which they need to make a decision, adding that state, national and international public health directives are "central" to their preparation.
The DNR released their reopening timeline for campgrounds Thursday, ahead of the unofficial start of summer: Memorial Day weekend. This weekend, 75 remote campsites will reopen in state parks, and another 80 remote sites should be open by May 29. By June 1, the DNR anticipates having about 20-30 of its campgrounds within state parks, recreation areas and forest campgrounds ready to open, with limited services. Some lodging options, such as camper cabins and yurts, will also open on June 1. In general, visitors can expect that water systems will be turned on, grounds will be maintained, and vault toilets/porta-toilets will be available. However, some value-added services may not be ready or available at that point, such as showers and contact/ranger stations. Over the weeks at the end of June, the DNR hopes to have all campgrounds opened, with the Mary Gibbs Café at Itasca State Park, some nature stores, and ancillary buildings - such as fish cleaning facilities and picnic shelters with reduced capacities - to be opened when possible.