Regardless of state rules, businesses can require masks

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After the Michigan Supreme Court tossed out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders linked to coronavirus, the state health department reinstated mask requirements with its own epidemic order Monday. But there are still many unknowns as state leaders go back and forth on what’s allowed.

What is clear, attorneys say: Businesses can still ask you to wear one and turn you away if you won’t.

“People that go to Target and say that they have a constitutional right — with all due respect — you are wrong,” Grand Rapids attorney Ven Johson said. “There is nothing to do with the Constitution. That’s a privately held premises. They can do pretty much what they want as long as they are not excluding people on race, religion, ethnicity.”

Johnson said that if a customer disagrees, they can file a lawsuit, but it may be a hard case to win.

“What I would tell people to do — sorry — number one, common sense. If you are going to be out there, wear your mask,” Johnson said. “We all know we are trying to do that for everyone’s benefit and health. If we didn’t believe it before, I would hope that people (would) when we see what happened at the White House in the past few days.”

The businesses that we spoke to are keeping the mask requirement and social distancing to protect everyone’s health. They say without healthy staff and customers, the business will fail.

“Our policy is what is it is and if people don’t want to comply with our policy, we can politely ask them to get takeout,” New Holland Knickerbocker general manager Eli Harper said.

Local schools are also keeping the mask and social distancing requirements for now.

Multiple districts say their return to learn plans approved by local school boards contain mask mandates.

“I believe that masks are going to be a requirement in most public settings for a while,” attorney Johnson said.

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