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Leaders Urge Caution As Milwaukee Mask Mandate Ends

Group of people wearing medical masks. Cartoon characters take off their protective masks and smile
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As of June 1, Milwaukee County's mask mandate is over.

As of June 1, the Milwaukee Health Department will no longer enforce gathering limits and mask requirements. While masks are still required indoors at Milwaukee County facilities, the decision to wear a mask is now up to local businesses.

In a press call Tuesday, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said it can be nice to resume life as it was before the pandemic, but it’s still important for people to stay safe when gathering with friends and family.

“We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. COVID is still present in our community and this virus is still a deep and imminent threat to all of us,” he said. “Even if you are vaccinated, but especially if you are not, continue to respect spatial boundaries, wash your hands regularly, avoid crowded spaces when possible and wear a mask and in close proximity with others.”

As pandemic restrictions continue to loosen, the county is now putting more of a focus on young people through employment opportunities and summer enrichment programs. Dr. Ben Weston is with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management and the Medical College of Wisconsin. He said while it’s important for young people to socialize and participate in their communities, there are still risk factors to keep in mind.

"In the end, we must continue to be cautious with anyone who's unvaccinated, including children who are less than 12 and can't yet get vaccinated,” Weston said. “Keeping them safe will not only prevent the possibility of acute disease in them, but also the known and unknown long-term side effects as well as decreasing community spread.”

Weston anticipated more information will be available later this summer on expanding the vaccine to younger age groups. In the meantime, county officials are still encouraging everyone who is currently eligible for the vaccine to get one.

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