UPDATE 7/8/20): A slightly revised version of the ordinance (seen below) will be discussed at a special Public Safety and Health Committee meeting on Thursday, July 9, at 2:30 p.m.

UPDATE (7/7/20): The Common Council did not discuss the proposed ordinance on Tuesday. A special meeting could still be held this week.

On Thursday, July 9, the Public Safety and Health Committee will discuss a proposed mandatory mask ordinance that would require Milwaukeeans to wear masks in public places. Indoors and outdoors! Buckle up!

In case you missed it, a bunch of businesses want a mandatory mask ordinance. Others do not. Likewise, a bunch of people want a mandatory mask ordinance. Others do not. Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic introduced a potential mandatory mask ordinance last week, dubbed MKE Cares.

What’s been updated since the original ordinance was released on Monday? According to a press release, “citizens will be required to wear a mask outdoors when they are within 6 feet of someone who is not a family member or member of their household.” (The original number was 30 feet.) Also, “the age of persons required to wear a mask is increased from 2 years old to 3 years old.”

Tomorrow’s 2:30 p.m. meeting will surely be a hoot. (You can watch it HERE, and leave a comment ahead of it HERE.) Until then, here’s the text of the updated ordinance:

Title
An ordinance relating to a requirement for face coverings in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Section
62-1-11 cr
62-1-12 cr
62-8 cr

Analysis
This ordinance creates a requirement for persons to wear face coverings when in public spaces for the duration of the ‘Moving Milwaukee Forward’ health and safety orders.

Body
The Mayor and Common Council of the City of Milwaukee do ordain as follows:

Part 1. Section 62-1-11 and Section 62-1-12 of the code is created to read:

62-1. Definitions.

11. 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.

12. BUILDING OPEN TO PUBLIC means any structure or premises licensed by the city of Milwaukee or used in whole or in part as a place of resort, assemblage, lodging, trade, traffic, occupancy, or other use by the public.

Part 2. Section 62-8 of the code is created to read:

62-8. Face Covering Requirements During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

1. MASK REQUIRED INDOORS. For the duration of the ‘Moving Milwaukee Forward’ health and safety orders, any person 3 years old or older who is present in the city of Milwaukee 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 a building open to the public.

2. MASK REQUIRED OUTDOORS. For the duration of the ‘Moving Milwaukee Forward’ health and safety orders, any person 3 years old or older who is present in the city of Milwaukee 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 outdoor public space and within 6 feet of any other person who is not a member of the person’s family or household.

3. MASK REQUIRED FOR CITY FACILITIES AND EMPLOYEES. The commissioner of public works and director of employee relations shall establish a face covering requirement policy for all city employees and other persons on the premises of any city facility.

4. EXCEPTIONS. Exceptions for face coverings will be made under the following circumstances:

a. 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.

b. Persons who have upper-respiratory chronic conditions, silent or invisible disabilities, or are communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and communication cannot be achieved through other means.

c. Persons in settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear face coverings when obtaining or rendering goods or services to the extent necessary to obtain or render such goods or services including but not limited to the receipt of dental services or medical treatments or consuming food or beverages.

d. Whenever federal, state, or local law otherwise prohibit wearing a face mask or where it is necessary to evaluate or verify an individual’s identity.

e. Persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.

f. Persons present in government facilities closed to the public, institutions of higher education, public and private K through 12 schools, and childcare or youth facilities that have a mitigation strategy approved by the commissioner of health and the board of health.

5. PENALTY. The health department shall enforce this section. The owner or operator of any building open to the public shall ensure all persons present in his or her building open to the public comply with sub. 1. The owner or operator of any building open to the public has the right to refuse entry or service to any person for failure to comply with sub. 1. Any owner or operator of a building open to the public that permits a person to violate sub. 1 in their building open to the public shall upon conviction forfeit not less than $50 and not more than $500. The commissioner of health and city attorney are authorized to pursue license revocation or a court order closing a building open to the public in accordance with state and local law for failing to require persons present to abide by sub. 1.

Dimitrijevic also released a statement on Wednesday:

It’s great to have had a community discussion over the past few days about mask use to protect our neighbors. We’ve taken your feedback and combined it with science and best practices to develop a MKE Cares plan that will keep us all safe. We won’t regret requiring people to cover their faces in this pandemic, but will regret it if we don’t.

And if you’re wondering how all Milwaukeeans will have access to masks, enter the proposed Masks For All resolution, as well as an offer by Rebel Converting to make 1 million free masks if the city passes a mandatory mask ordinance.

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About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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