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Milwaukee's proposed mask mandate gains big backing -- here's a look at the potential requirements

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dozens of Milwaukee businesses are joining a push on social media for people to reach out to city leaders to enforce a mask policy. The proposal, introduced by Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, will be discussed at a Common Council meeting Tuesday, July 7. 

The "Mandate Masks MKE" campaign is an offshoot of the "MaskUpMKE" campaign, which has donated nearly three million masks to the area. 

The movement already has plenty of public support. A member of the Mandate Masks MKE campaign started an online petition pushing for masks in public spaces, and it already has more than 12,000 signatures. 

The ordinance would require face coverings in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. A face covering means a protective mask covering the nose and mouth, including cloth face coverings or surgical masks as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The health department would enforce the requirements.

Requirements: 

  • MASK REQUIRED INDOORS: Any person 3 years old or older shall have possession of a face covering when the person leaves home or other place of residence and shall wear the face covering whenever the person is in an indoor public space.
  •  MASK REQUIRED OUTDOORS: Face covering whenever the person is in an outdoor public space and sees a person within 6 feet who is not a member of the person’s family or household.

Exceptions: 

  • Children under 3 years old. 
  • Persons who fall into the centers for disease control and prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or are otherwise covered under the Americans with disabilities act.
  • Persons who have upper-respiratory chronic conditions and silent disabilities.
  • Persons in settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear face coverings, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or medical treatments.    

Penalties: 

  • Warning
  • $50-500 fine 
  • Repeat violations could result in businesses shut down by the health department 

Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic released the following statement: 

During the last week as we have worked to craft the MKE Cares ordinance – a citywide masking policy – the amount of outreach and civic engagement during the process has been inspiring. I want to thank each and every citizen who has taken the time to make their voice heard in the interest of making our community a safer, healthier place. The time to act is now, we cannot stand by while new cases soar, school reopening discussions are taking place, and people continue to die. We won’t look back and regret this science supported action to protect our loved ones, but we will regret it if we do not act. MKE Cares is built on compliance. We want you to do your part to help keep everyone safe.

The support for MKE Cares has been overwhelming as those calling for a citywide policy include hundreds of business owners who co-signed a letter of support,  more than 12,000 people adding their names to a change.org petition, our local healthcare providers voicing their support for mask wearing, and the countless other health professionals acknowledging that masks can help save lives.

With all of this in mind we crafted the draft MKE Cares ordinance (attached) that blends several best practices from policies instituted in places such as New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

In my view this is an important moment for city government to do what is needed to protect the health and safety of our citizens, of essential workers, and the entire community. I look forward to the robust discussion that will take place around this ordinance in the coming days.
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