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Montpelier Council Issues Mandatory Mask Order for Public Establishments

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Poster sent to businesses by Montpelier Alive. Courtesy of Montpelier Alive

The Montpelier City Council unanimously approved an executive order requiring that employees and visitors to wear face coverings in public establishments within the city.

The order is efffective June 4 and will continue until the governor’s COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted or until the Council revokes the order, whichever comes first.

The effort is designed to support businesses that want to enforce mandatory masks by putting the weight of the city behind them. Penalties for noncompliance are unclear.

Businesses have until Monday, June 8, to post notice of the new order. The Council cited several exceptions to the order designed to not require masks when doing so would make the function of the business impossible, such as facial treatment, beard trimming, or eating in outside spaces at restaurants.

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Following are the exceptions listed in the order:

“In accordance with the Vermont State Guidance, found in State of Vermont Executive Department Addendum 14 to Executive Order 01-20, masks are not recommended for strenuous outdoor activity, anyone under the age of 2, anyone with a medical condition that is complicated or irritated by a facial covering, or anyone with difficulty breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. If anyone has a medical condition that is complicated by facial coverings like a cloth mask a face shield is an appropriate alternative.”

Dan Groberg, executive director of Montpelier Alive, issued the following advice to business owners:

“Last night, City Council passed a requirement that masks be worn by employees, customers, and visitors of any public establishment when in the presence of others. This order goes into effect immediately. You can find the full text attached. Please note the following: 

  • There is an exemption built in for anyone with a medical condition that is complicated by facial coverings 
  • There is an exemption (written in very lawyer-y language) built in for customers who are receiving services that require the removal of a mask. The ordinance is not intended to stop any business from providing any service that cannot be performed with a mask. For example, once indoor dining is allowed, masks can be removed while eating. A customer can remove a mask while receiving a facial or a beard trim, etc. Masks must be worn at all other times. 
  • You MUST POST a sign by Monday that states that masks are required by order of the Montpelier City Council. Please find a sign template attached. There is also a copy on file at Capitol Copy.”

This article will be updated.