This afternoon, the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed an ordinance mandating face masks when inside public buildings and outdoors within six feet of others. The ordinance still has to be signed by Mayor Tom Barrett before it can go into effect.
This comes as cities and counties across the state are considering mask requirements for their citizens. After the statewide safer-at-home order was overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on May 13, Gov. Tony Evers has said he is uncertain that he has the authority to implement a statewide mask mandate. Without a statewide requirement in place, Wisconsin cities and counties are considering their own requirements for mask-wearing.
Here’s where things stand right now:
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Milwaukee’s newly-passed ordinance requires everyone older than 3 years old to wear a faces mask inside public buildings and outdoors within six feet of anyone not a part of their household. Residents will be given free masks, upon request. The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed the order today, and it will go into effect, pending Mayor Tom Barrett’s signature.
The city of Shorewood passed a mask mandate last week, which requires people to wear masks when inside public buildings. It does not apply to those who can’t where face masks for medical reasons, and you are allowed to remove your mask when eating at a restaurant. Masks are also not required when outside. The ordinance does not include any particular enforcement measures for the requirement.
Dane County has mandated that everyone over the age of five wear a face mask or covering when inside an “enclosed building where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, could be present.” This applies to all buildings, including if you are visiting someone else’s house. You can take off the mask when eating at a restaurant, and people with conditions that prevent wearing a mask are exempt. Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison and Dane County, said that citations will be a last resort in responding to violations of the order, but if needed they will be $376 in Madison and $263.50 in other parts of Dane County.
Currently, there are no rules regarding masks in Racine. Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox told the Journal Times that a mask mandate is still a possibility for the city of Racine. “This Public Health Department would prefer everyone voluntarily utilize respiratory etiquette, but an ordinance is well within our means if we see another spike in cases,” she said.
Kenosha County has no rules regarding masks. As of July 8, The Kenosha County Division of Health is not considering a mask mandate for the county and has deferred the decision to the county’s corporation counsel, the office that acts of legal counsel to the County government. Joseph Cardamone, the corporation counsel, told the Kenosha News that, “Kenosha County, like many other counties, had its authority to mandate and enforce such actions [as mask mandates] significantly called into question by the state Supreme Court in its May 13 decision [to overturn the safer-at-home order].”
Outagamie County, which includes the city of Appleton, is requiring masks in all public parts of county buildings, including the courthouse, government center, airport, and Sheriff’s office. The county will provide face coverings to anyone who needs them.
Green Bay is currently considering a mask requirement. The city’s Protection and Policy Committee will discuss the proposal today, July 13, and if the ordinance is approved, it will need to be voted on by the city council. They have yet to draft an official ordinance, but Alderman Randy Scannell, who is proposing the mandate, has said it should apply to restaurants, stores and social gatherings.
The University of Wisconsin System
Although not a government mandate, it is worth noting that the entire UW System has mandated masks inside UW buildings. This means when school resumes in the fall every student and staff will be required to where masks. UW-Madison also plans to randomly test up to 2,000 people per day, along with offering free walk-in testing.
Nothing Publicly Planned
Here are a few nearby counties that, as of July 13, have not expressed any public plans for mask requirements:
- Waukesha County
- Ozaukee County
- Washington County
- Walworth County
- Sheboygan County
- Dodge County
- Fond du Lac County
- Jefferson County