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Politics & Government

Visiting A Public Place In Milwaukee? Masks Are Now Required

Lauren Sigfusson
People in masks walk around the Milwaukee Public Market in July.

Both the state of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Starting Thursday, masks are required to be worn in the city of Milwaukee. Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic authored the ordinance and says that the goal is not to be punitive but to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

We spoke with Dimitrijevic to help answer some questions about the mask ordinance.

Where are masks mandatory?

All indoor public places and outdoor public areas where you cannot safely social distance with people not in your household. 

When it comes to bars and restaurants, masks are not required while eating and drinking but are required while waiting for food.

Who has to wear a mask?

Anyone age 3 or older in the city of Milwaukee is required to wear a mask. Exceptions will be made for people who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability or for whom no other accommodation can be offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Exceptions will also be made for people who have upper-respiratory chronic conditions, silent or invisible disabilities or are communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Finally, exceptions will be made for people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.

>>A User's Guide To Masks: What's Best At Protecting Others (And Yourself)

Where are masks not required?

In settings where it is not practical or feasible, masks aren't required. For example, dental offices. They're also not required at government offices closed to the public, institutions of higher education, K-12 schools and childcare or youth facilities where a mitigation plan has been approved by the commissioner of health. 

How will the mask ordinance be enforced?

Any owner or operator of a facility open to the public has the right to refuse entry and service to anyone not wearing a mask. The Milwaukee Health Department will enforce the ordinance for businesses. Businesses caught not enforcing the mandate could be fined as little as $50 and as much as $500. A business could also have its license revoked. 

Outside, people are expected to self-enforce. 

Are masks being made available for people who do not have them?

Yes. People in need of masks are being asked to contact the Milwaukee Health Department

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