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Auctioneers are telling this auctioneer (me) that the government can’t make them wear a mask. I’m also hearing that the government can’t make an auctioneer make his bidders wear a mask. In other words, as I’m hearing it nobody can be required to wear a mask?

The American Bar Association commented in this regard:

Under the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court decisions over nearly 200 years, state governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions. The 10th Amendment, which gives states all powers not specifically given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and business restrictions.

In other words, states (and even local governments) retain significant emergency powers to regulate public safety and health through their own state constitutions. Obvious exceptions to any mask orders would include those with certain health conditions such as autism or a respiratory issue.

Additionally, private businesses (including auctioneers) can prohibit attendees based upon requirements such as “No shirt — no service” or similarly “No mask — no service.” Yes, auctioneers can require attendees to wear a mask or be removed from the auction.

The primary purpose of wearing a mask is to protect others. As we speak, sneeze, sing, etc. we project thousands of droplets so small they can remain suspended in the air for several minutes, and at a distance of six feet or more. These droplets can knowingly or unknowingly contain smaller virus particles.

Constitutional? Indeed it is constitutional in that the Constitution does not prohibit states nor governors from enacting health and safety provisions including social distancing, mask-wearing … even business closings when necessary for the greater public’s good.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.