This is how it ends, Milwaukee. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with two and a half more weeks of an unenforceable mask mandate that many Milwaukeeans are completely unaware of.

In case you’re one of those Milwaukeeans, here’s a refresher. After nearly seven months of not having an indoor mask mandate—and after months of arguing who should pass a new indoor mask mandate—Milwaukee belatedly passed a new indoor mask mandate in January 2022. Sure, the Milwaukee Health Department said it wouldn’t/couldn’t enforce the thing, and it came with a March 1 expiration date, but, um, it was better than nothing?

But now, as Omicron subsides and states like Illinois move to end their own mask mandates, some local business leaders are calling for the expedited end of Milwaukee’s draconian mask mandate that’s set to expire on its own in less than three weeks. Well, maybe just the guy who runs 3rd Street Market Hall and Carnevor.

“There are a lot of people that don’t want to come down here because of the mask mandate. They are over it. We need to move on,” Omar Shaikh told the Milwaukee Business Journal. “The thing is the whole mask policy with restaurants is goofy. You have to wear it standing, but when you sit down, you can take it off. Does the virus go over your head when you’re sitting down?” (Shit, good question. Have you checked into this, world scientists?)

Alas, one of the main boosters of the current mask mandate, alderwoman and mayoral candidate Marina Dimitrijevic, says the non-enforceable mask mandate that no one is really following and that is set to expire in 19 days is going to stay. For 19 more days.

“We will check the data next week and if a decline continues, the mandate will likely expire on the date that was set,” Dimitrijevic, who is also the chair of the city’s Public Safety & Health Committee, told the Business Journal.

About that committee: Even if Milwaukee wanted to end its unenforceable indoor mask mandate early, that legislation would have to pass the Public Safety & Health Committee, which next meets February 18. After that, it would have to pass the full Common Council, which doesn’t meet again until…March 1.

The Illinois mask mandate is set to end February 28 (with exceptions for schools, hospitals, and nursing homes). May they enjoy their one extra day of unmasked bliss as Milwaukee crumbles to the ground.

Here’s the above picture, but with full cat:

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Co-Founder and Editor

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