Yes, Virginia, Milwaukee still has an indoor mask mandate. But for how long? Some info on the future of the indoor mask mandate is expected to drop this Tuesday.
In case you missed the flurry of mask-related activity last week, here’s a recap: On Thursday morning, Milwaukee Mayor Tom 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. An indoor mask mandate, however, would remain.
But then things got weird: Mere hours after Milwaukee’s announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that, hey, if you’re vaccinated, you no longer have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. Like, beginning now. It was a surprise move that left many people elated, many people taken aback, and many people confused. Everyone kept yelling at everyone else. Welcome to 2021.
So how long will Milwaukee hold onto its indoor mask mandate? Last week’s press release from the City of Milwaukee Health Department has some answers:
The CDC released new guidance regarding indoor masking requirements for vaccinated individuals [Thursday] afternoon. At this time, the mask ordinance for the City of Milwaukee is still in effect. Internal discussions are occurring for the best course of action to keep all Milwaukeeans safe and an update is expected at the 2 p.m. media briefing on Tuesday. In the meantime, please continue wearing masks in public indoor spaces.
So there you go. Stay tuned to Milwaukee Record for whatever updates are coming our way tomorrow. In the meantime, be cool, be nice, and imagine a bright and glorious future in which we’re not screaming at each other about masks.
Here’s the full Health Department press release:
The City of Milwaukee Order Phase 6 Update
MILWAUKEE – Yesterday, Mayor Tom Barrett and Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced the expiration of the Phase 6 Order on June 15. This change means that limits on gathering size and occupancy will be lifted for businesses and events, and any event hosted after June 15 will not need to submit a safety plan.
Businesses and events are still encouraged to uphold common sense best practices, such as maintaining physical distancing whenever possible, providing hand sanitizer to guests, and keeping hand washing signs visible.
“We have reached an important stage in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. “I don’t think of this next step as reverting “back to normal,” but rather moving forward in our city’s recovery. The framework that the Health Department put in place 14 months ago along with the work the community has done to stay safe got us to this point.”
The continued trends of the gating criteria indicate a decrease in burden rate, positive COVID test percentages, and, most importantly, deaths. This week, the 7-day average burden rate dropped to 80.3 per 100,000 people and moved down to the substantial transmission category. The 7-day average percent positivity dropped to 4.0% and is now in the low transmission category.
The CDC released new guidance regarding indoor masking requirements for vaccinated individuals yesterday afternoon. At this time, the mask ordinance for the City of Milwaukee is still in effect. Internal discussions are occurring for the best course of action to keep all Milwaukeeans safe and an update is expected at the 2 p.m. media briefing on Tuesday. In the meantime, please continue wearing masks in public indoor spaces.
With the lifting of restrictions, the focus turns even more strongly onto vaccinations. Currently, 38.2% of eligible Milwaukee adults have completed their vaccination series, which is a 3% increase over last week. On Thursday, Milwaukee began administering the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 12 to 15 at the Wisconsin Center, Northwest Health Center, and Southside Health Center. Walk-up vaccinations are available with a parent or guardian to provide consent.
Beginning Monday, the Health Department will have a constant vaccine presence at three Milwaukee Public Library locations throughout the week. Residents can visit Zablocki Library and Washington Park Library on Mondays from 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 4 p.m., as well as Mitchell Street Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 until 4 p.m.
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