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County Executive Crowley calls on municipalities to adopt mask mandates

NOW: County Executive Crowley calls on municipalities to adopt mask mandates

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Milwaukee’s mask mandate hasn’t taken effect yet, and there are already calls to expand it to the entire county.

County Executive David Crowley applauded the city’s decision to have a mandate.  He wants it for the entire county, but that will be up to individual municipalities.

“We are clearly nowhere near done fighting this virus,” said Crowley, who sees COVID-19 numbers headed in the wrong direction. He says masks will help stop that.

“Research shows us that wearing a mask is one of the best ways that you can minimize the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

He wants the county to follow the city’s lead and mandate masks. The problem is the county can’t give that order. “Milwaukee County does not have a health department, so we cannot mandate a county-wide mask mandate,” said Crowley.

So that means it’s up to individual jurisdictions. And while Shorewood and Milwaukee have a mandate, others are slower getting there.

“That’s what’s going to stop the spread of coronavirus,” said Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride.

McBride says his city will take up the idea at their next meeting. He supports a mandate, but like other leaders, thinks it will only work if the entire area is doing it.

“Wauwatosa isn’t an island,” said McBride, “people come from Milwaukee and Brookfield and New Berlin and everything all the time to get to Mayfair, to go to Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, to go to our restaurants.”

The mayor of Glendale said the same thing last week.  And with 19 municipalities in the county, it could take a while for everyone to get on board.  Especially since for some, wearing a mask has become political.

“Please, lets continue to normalize wearing a mask, because this is the best tool that we have right now to minimize the spread,” said Crowley.

“Wearing a mask isn’t a political thing, it shouldn’t be a political thing, it’s a human thing,” said Dr. Jeanette Kowalik, Milwaukee Health Commissioner.

“Until there’s a vaccine, I think we have to do everything we can,” said McBride.

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