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State Senator Introduces Mask Bill

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky thinks it needs to be made more clear that businesses can require patrons to wear masks.

Kaminski, D-Rockville Center, introduced S.8559 in the state Senate to amend the state’s General Business Law to permit businesses, corporations, associations, entities, and not-for-profit corporations to require employees, customers, or vendors to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth if they enter the building, and permits the entities to remove or prohibit those who refuse to wear masks from entering the place of business.

Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that gave business owners the authority to deny entry to people not wearing masks. At the time, Cuomo said Cuomo said his new order will reduce conflicts between shop owners and customers who refuse to cover their faces.

“We’re giving the store owners the right to say, ‘If you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in.'” Cuomo said at his daily briefing on May 27. “That store owner has a right to protect themselves. That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store.”

Legal experts have also said businesses have the right to refuse service as long as their prohibition isn’t based on race, sex or other groups protected by the state. The same laws that allow stores to mandate patrons wear shirts and shoes allow them to mandate that people wear masks.

Kaminski, however, still wants to see both the executive order and the longstanding practice to be codified in state law.

“This bill explicitly allows businesses and nonprofits to require people over the age of two and those who are medically capable to wear a mask or face covering. The law will help protect businesses and nonprofits from any public pushback and ensure people do not question whether these entities can restrict what people wear on their premises. Further, the bill ensures that if a business requires masks to be worn that they communicate this to their customers through signage,” Kaminski wrote in his legislative justification.

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