West Acres to require shoppers, employees to wear face masks starting Aug. 17

West Acres Shopping Center has announced that it will require shoppers and employees to wear masks to prevent virus spread as of Aug. 17. (Forum File Photo by David Samson / The Forum)

FARGO - The West Acres shopping mall has announced that starting Monday it will require shoppers and employees to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19

“Beginning August 17th, visitors to West Acres, along with all mall employees, will be required to wear a mask. Children age 5 and under will be exempt, but strongly encouraged to wear masks when possible. Additionally, masks may be removed while eating or drinking,” the mall announced in a Facebook post and on the website.

“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. With over 80% of our store space already having a mask mandate in place, the necessary next step is a mall-wide mask mandate. This will work to provide the safest experience for everyone inside West Acres, especially as we move into the busiest shopping season of the year. We believe this is the best way to protect and support our guests and our community as a whole,” the Facebook post said.


“Like all of you, we’re craving a return to normal, and we know that by working together and making these important steps now, we can ensure a brighter, healthier future for our community going forward,” the post said.

Several national, regional and local stores chains have already announced mask or face covering requirements to help stem the pandemic, which has killed about 163,000 Americans. Among those stores are Target, CVS, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Hornbacher’s, ALDI, Kohl’s and others.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday, Aug. 10, announced an initiative encouraging the state’s residents to wear masks, including a social media campaign, #MaskUpND. Many of the state’s school districts have also said they will require mask wearing when school starts this fall. However, Burgum has so far said he has no intention of issuing a statewide mask order as many other states have done.

In July, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued an order requiring people to wear masks or other face coverings in public indoor places and businesses - unless alone. The rule has exceptions, including for children age 2 and under; people with health conditions, disabilities or mental health, developmental or behavior needs that make it difficult to wear a mask; people in a workplace where a mask might present a danger. Face shields are also an option.


The federal Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone wear a mask in public settings where social distancing may be a concern. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also recommends allowing workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of viruses.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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