It’s the day the prophesies warned us about: Today—June 1, 2021—sees the end of Milwaukee’s mask mandate, and the beginning of its electric scooter season. It’s Doomsday, the Apocalypse, the End Times, and the unofficial beginning of what’s sure to be a Weird Summer all wrapped into one.
First, the masks. OH GOD, THE MASKS. As we’ve previously reported, Milwaukee’s COVID-19 public health order—and with it, its indoor and outdoor mask mandate, and any and all limits on crowd sizes or capacity—expires today. Businesses and events can still require masks if they so choose (you’ll still need to mask up inside County-owned facilities, for example), but yeah, it’s officially over. The order was originally scheduled to end June 15, but Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Health Department bumped it up two weeks in accordance with CDC guidelines.
You should still wear a mask if you’re not yet vaccinated. You should not be an asshole if people are wearing them or not wearing them, or if businesses ask you to wear one or not wear one. Just carry one around for a while, relax, and be kind.
Now, the scooters. OH GOD, THE SCOOTERS. As we previously mentioned, another dockless electric scooter pilot program kicks off today, and ends November 15. This time around, e-scooter companies Bird, Lime, and Spin are each allowed to scatter 1,000 (!) of their lil’ scooters throughout the city, delighting on-the-move urbanites and annoying pretty much everyone else. All three companies participated in the city’s first scooter pilot program in 2019. There was no pilot program in 2020, because, well, you know.
You should ride these things on the streets, preferably in bike lanes. You should not ride them on sidewalks, or anywhere else that is blocked off when you fire up the app. (The UWM campus is off limits, for example.) Just stay alert, relax, and be kind.
Here’s a photo from a few years ago when someone tossed a scooter on top of the Marcus Center snow pile. Beautiful.
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