The City of Milwaukee’s COVID-19 public health order—and with it, the indoor and outdoor mask mandate—is set to expire June 1. But two Milwaukee alders have some concerns about that, and are asking the public to share their questions and comments.

In a joint statement released on Thursday titled “Transparency, Insight and Dialogue Needed on Decision to Rescind Milwaukee’s Public Health Order,” Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Alderman Cavalier Johnson say the city’s decision to end its public health order on June 1—two weeks ahead of schedule—”came as a surprise to members the Common Council and city residents.” They go on to note that “the rate of vaccination among city residents has clearly plateaued and new efforts must be deployed to reduce inequity and increase the overall vaccination rate.”

They continue:

While communities like Madison and those in Door County are reporting vaccination rates above 60%, Milwaukee’s is near 38%, and far lower for people of color. Was this considered? Was a metric considered to attach the lifting of the health order to such as an increase in vaccinations?

Children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated and they make up nearly 15% of the city’s population. Did the Administration consult with pediatricians regarding the potential consequences of nearly 60% of Milwaukeeans being unmasked and unvaccinated indoors, especially with unvaccinated children?

As a city, we have carefully followed the science during this pandemic. What science is being used to assert that unvaccinated individuals should be unmasked indoors at this time?

City and health officials have stressed that the Great Unmasking applies only to fully vaccinated individuals, and not to unvaccinated individuals. Earlier today, Milwaukee County announced that even after June 1, masks will still be required inside all County facilities.

A special meeting of the Public Safety and Health Committee has been scheduled for May 26 at 9 a.m. Mayor Tom Barrett and a representative from the city’s health department will discuss the decision to end the city’s health order. Dimitrijevic and Johnson are asking members of the public to submit any questions and comments via the city’s e-comment system. Here’s how:

Those wishing to provide comments can utilize the City’s e-comment feature by following these steps:

1. Visit milwaukee.legistar.com/Calendar.

2. Select the “e-comment” button across from the meeting during which the file will be heard. Meeting info is listed above.

3. Scroll down to the item number that corresponds to the desired file and click the “comment” button.

4. Fill in the necessary information, select a position and type a comment in the comment box. Note that comments are limited to 600 characters.

5. Hit submit.

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

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