Step Three: Train your staff
“Your staff will be more likely to effectively enforce your requirement for masks if they understand why you have the requirement,” the lawyers said. “Train your employees on all health-and-safety measures you are implementing, including the face-mask requirement, and the reasons why you are implementing these measures. You should emphasize that these measures are for their protection as well as the protection of others that they interact with.”
The lawyers said that because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have included masks in their recommendations and guidance, requiring masks for both employees and visitors could help avoid an OSHA General Duty Citation or similar challenge by local health and safety authorities.
“It is also crucial to train your visitor and customer-facing employees on how to politely request them to wear a mask,” the lawyers suggested. “For example, consider something like ‘Our policy is to require all visitors to wear a mask. Can I provide one to you?’ If the guest refuses, communicate a clear procedure to your employees, such as calling in a manager who can offer accommodation.”
Step Five: Delicately deal with visitors who refuse to comply
“A clear policy and training is key,” they said. “Share the exact phrase you want your employees to use when dealing with an anti-mask guest, such as ‘If you will not wear the mask per our policy, I have been instructed to contact my manager who will need to discuss this with you.’ If a front-line employee is unable to coax the guests or customers to comply, a manager should be designated to handle the removal of a visitor.
“Do not ask or expect a non-management employee to handle removal of a non-compliant visitor, guest or customer,” they said. “Instead, encourage them to immediately involve a manager.
The lawyers said the first steps for a manager are to meet the guest in a private location, share the policy and, if applicable, the local/state ordinance.
“The manager should inform your visitor that they will be asked to leave if they continue to refuse to comply,” the lawyers said. “If the guest does not cooperate, your manager should escort the individual to the exit and inform them that they are welcome to return if they comply with the policy or when the need for a mask is gone.”
The team said managers should avoid raising voices and from physical contact.
“If the situation escalates, your manager should know to call on your own security personnel or local authorities in the same manner you would handle a trespassing situation,” they said. “Regardless of how the situation concludes, your manager should immediately document the incident in objective, non-emotional terms. They should be instructed to provide the documentation to key personnel (human resources, legal, etc.) as soon as possible and your business should retain the report in the event you are required to later demonstrate what happened.”