Who’s Enforcing Mask Rules?


Your local or state government may have guidelines for or even regulations requiring masks to be worn in public places of business. Even if your government is not requiring them, you may be considering requiring masks to be worn by all employees, clients, or customers of your business. Wearing a mask has become a standard practice for helping curb the spread of infectious diseases and can be highly effective especially when combined with social distancing practices.


As more states and businesses are reopening, one of the looming questions is who should be enforcing mask rules? Unfortunately, for several weeks now, the burden has fallen on many essential workers like retailers and healthcare workers who find themselves even more in the line of fire. Those who choose to defy mask-wearing policies (and make a show of it) have caused physical harm to many who are just trying to do their jobs safely.


For example, an employee of Target in California wound up with a broken arm while helping remove customers who refused to wear masks. A cashier in a convenience store in Pennsylvania was punched multiple times in the face when she refused to sell cigars to a non-mask wearing individual.


These situations are ripe with concern for both the employee and the employer. Who should be in charge of enforcing mask-wearing? What is your company’s policy on masks? Here, we discuss enforcing the mask rule and the safety of your workers.

Creating a Policy

If your business interacts heavily with the public, you might be considering requiring masks to be worn by all who come into your place of business. This decision is generally made for the safety of both workers and those who come into contact with your business such as customers, suppliers, clients, etc.


If it is your intention to create a policy requiring masks, or if your state already requires them for reopening, you must also include in your policy some guidelines regarding the enforcement of the mask policy. The safety of your workers should be the number one goal in policymaking. Create a chain of command for who is to be contacted and how they are to be contacted if a situation arises where someone is refusing to wear a mask.

Create Clear Communication Tools

Abundantly clear communications of your policies to the public can go a long way to enforcing mask-wearing without any conflict. Some ways you can effectively communicate your policy include:

  • Large, easy to see and understand signage demonstrating that your place of business is a mask-wearing zone
  • Use social media to communicate your policy online so the public can be aware before arriving
  • Post your policy, and the potential repercussions for not following the policy, at the entrance to your business
  • Communicate effectively with your workers about the policy and the expectations for enforcing it