Minot businesses discuss mask policies amid citywide mandate

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Monday the Minot City Council issued a mask mandate for the city.

Those regulations also apply to businesses in the area.

Many shops in downtown Minot already have some sort of mask policy.

But as we have seen in other areas of the country, sometimes customers can push back against those.

So, business owners tell me they feel much better that the city is backing them up.

Artmain requires customers to wear a mask, and like the city, the store’s owners first made it a suggestion before changing to a requirement.

"We wanted our customers to be safe, and we also wanted our staff to be safe, said Artmain Owner Beth Kjelson.

Across the street at Main Street Books, ownership required mask wearing in March when the pandemic began.

“I have a very small staff. I have a husband at home who is immune compromised,” said Main Street Book owner Val Stadick.

Both stores offer masks to customers who walk in without one.

Kjelson said most customers respect the policy or leave, but she is still pleased to have the support of the city behind her.

“I’m very relieved. I think it was very brave of them, and I am very happy that they took a stance on this,” said Kjelson.

Now local businesses like Artmain and Main Street Books will have the option of hanging signs from the city.

Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma said businesses have the right to ask anyone not abiding by the mandate to leave.

“It becomes a trespassing issue. It is no different than no shirt no shoes service no mask,” said said Sipma.

John MacMartin, the Director of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce, said those who think that asking customers to wear a mask is discrimination should think again.

“The difference between discriminating against someone and asking them to wear a mask is they are asking everyone to wear a mask,” said MacMartin.

Luckily, for places like Main Street books and Artmain, most customers said they are glad to shop in a store that is trying to help slow the spread of the virus.

“Our regular customers thanked us profusely for having a mask mandate because they feel nervous about going into other places,” said Stadick.

The citywide mask mandate will be in effect until the current state of emergency ends.

This policy also applies to non-profits and private sector entities.

It is essentially anywhere you go where you can not properly social distance.

So for now, when you are running your errands please don’t forget your mask. You will need it. And it must cover both your nose and mouth according to the mandate.

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