Should Everyone Be Required to Wear Masks? 70+ Local Businesses Want a Mandate

More than 70 local businesses are asking for a city mandate requiring face masks in public spaces.

Milwaukee businesses are calling on local leaders to require masks in public spaces. 

Fiserv Forum, Bartolotta Restaurants, Colectivo Coffee, Lowlands Group and Pabst Theater Group are just a handful of the more than 70 businesses who signed a letter addressed to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson.

“The City of Milwaukee should require that people wear masks in public places and maintain physical distancing until health professionals say these practices are no longer needed,” the letter says. “The alternative is more lockdowns, business failures, and serious illness and death.”

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The letter defines public spaces to include stores, theaters, museums, restaurants and bars, with the exception being while consuming food or beverage. 

Business leaders say without a city mandate, many customers may not be compliant with their own requirements, which could lead to a loss in business and added risk for new outbreaks. Business leaders worry that more outbreaks could result  in new stay-at-home orders that would put many of them out of business “for good.” 

“Can we truly reopen if we don’t make Milwaukee public spaces as safe as possible?” the letter asks. 

On Tuesday, City of Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic announced that she will be introducing the MKE Cares Ordinance, which was modeled after the mask ordinance that was approved in Los Angeles

The MKE Cares ordinance will go before the Public Safety and Health Committee during a special virtual meeting on Thursday, July 2 at 9 a.m.

To sign the petition or read the full letter, go to change.org/MilwaukeeMasks. Other Milwaukee businesses interested in representation are asked to email info@mkeirc.com or visit mkeirc.com. To provide comment on the MKE Cares ordinance, visit milwaukee.legistar.com/Calendar

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Allison Garcia is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.