Milwaukee’s indoor and outdoor mask mandate, along with its full COVID-19 health order and all accompanying COVID restrictions, will end June 1. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett made the announcement during a media briefing Tuesday afternoon.
“Last May, the health commissioner issued an order, and that order remains in effect until it is rescinded,” Barrett said. “And that is what we are announcing today—that effective June 1, that order, the Moving Milwaukee Forward public health order, will be allowed to expire.”
Barrett continued: “I think an obvious question is why June 1, and why not today? Well, individual locations such as businesses, schools, stores, and event spaces can continue to establish their own masking requirements. We are offering this upcoming 13-day period so that they can determine what’s right for them. These businesses, these establishments, they know their client base, their customer base, their user base better than anyone.”
Last Thursday, Barrett and Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced that the city would be dropping nearly all of its COVID restrictions on June 15. No more size limits on gatherings, no more occupancy limits for businesses, and no more need for businesses or events to submit COVID safety plans. Milwaukee’s indoor mask mandate, however, would remain.
But later that day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that, hey, effective immediately, fully vaccinated folks no longer had to wear masks indoors or outdoors. Milwaukee took the CDC’s surprise announcement into account, and bumped its June 15 date to June 1.
“From the outset, I have pledged to follow the science and the evidence,” Barrett said Tuesday. “So when the Centers for Disease Control announced that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, I felt, as did the health commissioner, that just as we have at every critical point along the way, that we follow the CDC guidance.
“So again, just to make sure that the announcement is clear,” Barrett said, “we are moving up the expiration of the Moving Milwaukee Forward public health order by two weeks. It will now expire on June 1, and with that, the city’s requirements for masks will also expire.”
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