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New Mask Enforcement Requirements for Businesses – updated 7/17/20

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-153, which is a revision of a previous order and 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 revised order and requirements 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). This new order also clarifies that businesses may not assume that an unmasked customer cannot medically tolerate a face covering, though they can accept a customer’s verbal representation to that effect. 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, government office, or operation 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).

(c) A business may not assume that someone who enters the business without a face covering falls in one of the exceptions specified in section 2 of this order, including the exception for individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering. A business may, however, accept a customer’s verbal representation that they are not wearing a face covering because they fall within a specified exception.”

Businesses may find the information provided by the Department of Civil Rights helpful in enforcing this Executive Order.


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

“2. Although a face covering is strongly encouraged even for individuals not required to wear one, the requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to individuals who:

(a) Are younger than five years old (and, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), children under the age of two should not wear a mask);

(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 with the activity;

(e) Are receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary;

(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 deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing 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, and where wearing a mask would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety

(i) Are at a polling place for purposes of voting in an election;

(j) Are officiating at a religious service; or

(k) Are giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience, provided that the audience is at least six feet away from the speaker.”

Printable Signage Resource

Printable signage for Grand Traverse County and northern Michigan businesses is available on the Traverse Connect website.



The contents of this web page are made available to you for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice on any matter. This material may not reflect the most current COVID-19 developments and is subject to revision. In no event will Traverse Connect be liable for any decisions made or action taken in relation upon the information provided through this document.