Eighteen states currently have no mask requirements, including some that have never made face coverings mandatory. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his state’s mask mandate on March 2, and Indiana expects to end its mandate on Tuesday.
But many business owners are keeping their own rules in place, requiring staffers and customers alike to wear masks for the sake of protecting everybody, particularly their employees.
And the law is on an owner’s side. A company’s premises are private property, so owners can insist that customers wear masks, just as restaurants can require that diners wear shoes and shirts in order to be served, says Michael Jones, an attorney with the law firm Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia.
“Storeowners, business owners have the absolute right to require customers, vendors, anyone who comes onto their property to wear a mask,” Jones says. It’s legal as long as owners don’t enforce their requirements in a discriminatory way, he says.
If a customer enters a store without a mask, is asked to leave and doesn’t, that could be trespassing under the law.
In other developments:
- The Texas Rangers are the first team to approach capacity with their stadium since the coronavirus shutdown of sports more than a year ago.
- Vaccine skepticism is more widespread among white evangelicals than almost any other major bloc of Americans.
- The CDC is no longer recommending daily disinfection of schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Updated guidance says disinfecting chemicals like ammonia and bleach need be used only within 24 hours after an infected person has been there.
- The U.S. services sector, which employs most Americans, recorded record growth in March as the easing of coronavirus restrictions released pent-up consumer demand.
- The Norwegian Cruise Line is seeking permission to resume trips from U.S. ports on July 4, requiring passengers and crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before the trip.
- Britain’s slow but steady march out of a three-month lockdown remains on track even as coronavirus cases surge elsewhere in Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday, as he confirmed that businesses from barbers to bookstores will be allowed to reopen next week.
- European countries scrambled Monday to tamp down a surge in COVID-19 cases and ramp up vaccinations, hoping to spare hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by the pandemic's latest deadly wave of infections.