UPDATE: Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic has introduced a mandatory mask proposal, dubbed MKE Cares, that will go before the Common Council’s Public Safety & Health Committee July 2. Read the proposal HERE. Mayor Tom Barrett has signaled his support.

More than 70 Milwaukee businesses released a letter Tuesday morning calling on Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson to immediately issue a mandatory mask rule for the city.

“We call on you, as the City of Milwaukee’s top elected officials, to immediately require the wearing of masks by all patrons and workers in city public spaces, including stores, theaters, museums, and restaurants and bars (while not consuming food or beverage),” reads some of the letter.

“Without a city mandate, many customers will not be willing to come to our businesses,” it continues. “Compliance with requirements a business may establish will be inconsistent at best. Our employees can’t be assured of a safe work environment. And the risk is much higher for new outbreaks, which could result in new stay-at-home orders that put us out of business for good.”

The letter is signed by the Pabst Theater Group, Fiserv Forum, Colectivo, Odd Duck, Cactus Club, and everyone else worth a damn.

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

Here’s the letter. Oh, and here’s a petition. Wear a mask.

MAYOR BARRETT, PRESIDENT JOHNSON: PLEASE DON’T LET US BECOME FLORIDA OR TEXAS
We ask you to please issue a mandatory mask rule for Milwaukee NOW!

Dear Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson,

We call on you, as the City of Milwaukee’s top elected officials, to immediately require the wearing of masks by all patrons and workers in city public spaces, including stores, theaters, museums, and restaurants and bars (while not consuming food or beverage).

We are the owners and promoters of Milwaukee businesses serving more than a million customers a year and employing tens of thousands of people, all whose health and safety deserve the protection of a mask requirement. A city mask rule is also critical to the survival of our businesses.

Currently more than 20 states require face masks be worn, including nearby Illinois.

Hundreds of cities in America have mandated that face masks must be worn in public, including Los Angeles, New York City, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, the Florida Keys, Raleigh, Denver, Boulder, Houston, Kansas City and Charleston.

Medical professionals, health officials and scientists say that wearing face masks is vital to helping prevent the spread of the deadly Covid-19 and is the #1 preventative measure we can take besides staying at home. Masks help prevent a wearer from infecting others. But mask wearers—including our customers and employees—are not protected if others don’t wear masks.

Without a city mandate, many customers will not be willing to come to our businesses. Compliance with requirements a business may establish will be inconsistent at best. Our employees can’t be assured of a safe work environment. And the risk is much higher for new outbreaks, which could result in new stay-at-home orders that put us out of business for good.

Taking this measure will prevent us from becoming like Houston or Florida. These areas opened up without public masking policies and have seen spikes in cases and even regressions in re-opening. With Wisconsin seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases, now is the time to act. Let’s have Milwaukee shine, and truly become an example for our state and the nation of how to do this safely.

This is our city. People deserve to be safe here when supporting and working at Milwaukee businesses. We urge you to promptly put a mask order in place along with physical distancing requirements, until health professionals say these practices are no longer needed.

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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