Milwaukee alderwoman considers going around health department to issue mask mandate

NOW: Milwaukee alderwoman considers going around health department to issue mask mandate

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said Thursday, Sept. 30, rising COVID-19 case numbers and a string of school closings, show Milwaukee needs a new mask mandate.

"What is it going to take?" Dimitrijevic said. "All the pediatric beds full? More school closings? Racine, Chicago, Madison already have it. Why don't we?"

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said she isn't confident a mandate would accomplish their goals.

"People are predominantly getting it at events with their family members, with people they are comfortable with," Johnson said. "With other extracurriculars where there's no enforcement mechanism. Those are private gatherings, and a mandate we have in place will not have an impact on those settings."

Johnson also questioned how a mandate would be enforced, and said it could simply drive people to suburbs without them.

"I don't think it will have the impact that we want, because people are going to have to go where they don't have to wear a mask if they don't want to wear a mask," Johnson said.

Dimitrijevic said if the Milwaukee Health Department does not agree a mandate is necessary, she will see if the Milwaukee Common Council wants to go around it and pass a mask mandate independently.

"I'm unhappy, clearly, with the response, and I will be considering an additional legislative step," Dimitrijevic said. "I'm going to keep pushing."

Dimitrijevic said she hasn't had enough conversations with other council members to know if a mask mandate would pass.

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