The Milwaukee Health Department has now moved into the warning stage of implementing the “Milwaukee Cares” mask mandate that began July 16.
Nine warning letters have been issued to local businesses after receiving citizen complaints that they did not comply with the ordinance.
The responsibility falls on the businesses, who are required to enforce patrons to wear masks inside. The health department, the agency in charge of enforcing the mandate, warned since July 16 that it would be diligent in issuing warnings, and eventually fines, for businesses that refused to follow guidelines.
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If the nine warned businesses continue the non-compliance, they could receive citations and up to $500 in fines. The department is also authorized to revoke business licenses.
Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik stressed that these warnings weren’t out of the blue.
“When you have a warning that means there was already a conversation,” she said in a press briefing Tuesday.
The nine businesses are mostly food vendors, restaurants and grocery stores, as well as a laundromat, a USPS location, a strip club and a BP.
Restaurants and bars are the biggest culprit for citizen complaints, Kowalik said. Many restaurants and bars were big proponents of the mandate in mid-July.
While businesses enforce the mask mandate, Milwaukeeans are required to self-enforce six feet of distance between non-household members when outside.
These citations come a week after Gov. Tony Evers issued a statewide mask mandate indoors through the end of September.
To help restaurants and bars establish COVID-19 safety plans, the department is hosted a restaurant and bar webinar Thursday at 2 p.m.
“We know that it’s summertime an people want to live their life in some way, shape or form,” Kowalike said, “but we have to do so in a safe way.”
Citizens can submit complaints by emailing askMHDcovid19@milwaukee.gov or calling 414-286-3521.
Warning Letters Have Been Issued To:
- Sunrise Foods – 2879 N. Weil St.
- Ace Food Market 5035 W. Center St.
- USPS – 3600 N. Holton St.
- BP – 5912 W. Oklahoma Ave.
- Pick n’ Save – 1100 E. Garfield Ave.
- McDonald’s – 1614 E. North Ave.
- Milwaukee Pedal Tavern – 820 S. Water St.
- East Side Maytag Coin Laundry – 2009 Kenilworth Pl.
- Gold Diggers – 4750 N. Hopkins St.