Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Brad Meier issued a special statement following Wednesday's announcement of a mask mandate in Minnesota which goes into effect Saturday, July 25 at 12:01 am.

He stated five points of emphasis, "Masking mandated in public-facing indoor places including retail stores, and in similar outdoor setting where social distancing is not possible." Signage will be required and the state will produce samples.

Meier said, "Businesses will be required to make a 'reasonable effort' to educate non-compliant customers," adding that employees will be asked to deal with customers "in a manner similar to how they deal with any other non-compliant customers relative to store policy."

He also indicated that "Businesses and other impacted parties that blatantly disregard the order will be subject to penalties." Meier included a link to Frequently Asked Questions.

Meier said the state will provide Owatonna businesses with 30,000 one-time use masks, "These can be used to provide to customers who arrive without a mask. More details on this next week."

He also offered some words of encouragement to businesses, "You've been dealing with running and working a business during a pandemic. There are multiple stressers on your time and resources. Thank you for sticking with it. No matter where you are on the mask wearing debate, one thing is for sure, we want your business to succeed." He closed with, "We will work with the mask mandate to assist your business and we all hope this moves us through this pandemic as safely and quickly as possible."