City of Milwaukee mask ordinance takes effect

By Kyle Schwarm, ABC of Wisconsin Marketing & Communications Director

A few days after Madison and Dane County implemented a new order for wearing masks in any indoor public space, Milwaukee implemented a face mask measure of its own. The Milwaukee ordinance requires masks be worn anytime an individual, 3 years of age or older, is in a building open to the public or in any public space within six feet of another person who is not a family member or who does not live in his/her household.

“This mask policy refers to any person leaving their private dwelling/property to wear a mask at all times, this includes work,” according to the city of Milwaukee official website.

Masks are being promoted by health organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), but earlier in the pandemic, both organizations recommended just the opposite. Health officials say there is evidence masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Some contractors’ employees are already wearing masks on the job, but this will require it.

“This is a pretty big deal for construction,” said Dan Parks, a safety manager for ABC of Wisconsin. “It’s not going away. If anything, it’s going to keep expanding.”

The ordinance, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 16, requires masks that cover both the nose and mouth. A number of exceptions are being made, however, such as for medical conditions, religious beliefs and medical or dental treatments. Enforcement of the ordinance will be handled by the Milwaukee Health Department and not the police. Businesses who don’t enforce the mask requirement could face closure or fines between $50-$500.

Mask requirement indoors and outdoors, according to the city news release:

  • Anyone ages three and older must wear a face covering when leaving place of residence.
  • Face coverings must be worn in an indoor public place and when around people that do not live in your household.
  • When outdoors, individuals must wear face coverings whenever they are within 6 feet of another person, and around others that are not members of individual household.
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