At a virtual media briefing Tuesday afternoon, Milwaukee Commissioner of Health Dr. Jeanette Kowalik said that the city will have to be “more aggressive” with its enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Remember, we have an order—it’s not guidance—so it is something that we can enforce,” Kowalik said. Later, she added that the city will “make sure that health department staff are more visible and out in the evening and over the weekend where we see some of the violations.”

Back in April, Milwaukee approved a possible $500 fine (and/or arrest) for violating local health orders.

Milwaukee will enter “phase 4” of its reopening plan on July 1. Under “phase 4,” bars and restaurants can operate at 50% capacity.

Wisconsin reported 601 new positive COVID-19 test results (out of 12,781 total tests) on Tuesday afternoon.

Here are more of Kowalik’s remarks:

Since we have orders in the City of Milwaukee, it’s our obligation to educate our community about what these mean. We’ve been very gracious about how we are going about our orders. We haven’t been heavy-handed on folks, we haven’t been the “mask police” or anything like that. We’ve been very gracious. But at this point in time, because we’re looking at what’s happening and the trends that are happening in other parts of the state and in the country, we’re going to have to be more aggressive with our enforcement. I just wanted to make sure everyone understands what this means.

So, the capacity is still capped for gatherings at the lesser of the three—250, 50% of building occupancy, or one per 30 square feet. So depending on a situation, that might not change your circumstances for your business. But if it does alter it a little bit, we are going to be checking capacity, so the health department will be monitoring this capacity. Remember, we have an order—it’s not guidance—so it is something that we can enforce. Normally what we do is when we see a violation, there’s a discussion or an education opportunity. And then if we see repeat violations, then we move into some actual citations and things like that.

We have technology now so people will send us pictures, videos, various accounts, screenshots of social media, and all of that stuff. So we do evaluate that, we do consider that to be evidence. And then we do move forward on that account. So just again, when you see violations of the order, please let us know so we can act on that. We’re going to make sure that health department staff are more visible and out in the evening and over the weekend where we see some of the violations. The email is cehadmin@milwaukee.gov.

In other news, a formal proposal to make masks mandatory in city bars, restaurants, and other public places will be discussed this Thursday. Also, just get off your stupid bullshit and wear a goddamn mask already.

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

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