Capitol Notes

Face coverings required at retailers as part of Phase 2

Retail establishments allowing in-person shopping as part of phase two in the state’s reopening plan will need to ensure face coverings are worn by virtually all customers who walk through their doors, according to state guidance released early Friday.

The guidance is not exactly a surprise, as it comes after many essential retailers have been imposing their own face covering requirements. Since the middle of April, New Yorkers who are unable to maintain social distancing have been required to wear some sort of face covering when in public. 

“Responsible Parties shall not permit customers into the store without a face covering, if medically able to tolerate one, and are over age two,” reads the state rules.

The guidance applies to all in-store essential retail business activities, as well as in-store non-essential retail activities in regions of the state that have reached at least the second phase of the state’s  reopening plan. The guidance does not apply to “restaurants or other food services, retailers of rental goods, or personal care services.”

It was not immediately clear on Friday afternoon whether violating this requirement would result in some sort of fine for the retailer.

The rule comes less than 24 hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order reinforcing the right of private business owners to keep patrons out of their establishments if they refused to wear a face covering. The guidance appears to go beyond the discretion provided in the order and will require retail stores proactively keep out people who aren’t using a face covering.

Store employees who interact with customers will continue to be required to wear a face covering.

◄ Back to News