By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
A new mask mandate is expected to go into effect in the upcoming days.
Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson signed a mask mandate on Thursday, Jan. 20. The mandate requires individuals 3 and older to wear a mask when inside a public building unless eating or drinking.
The mandate will remain in effect until March 1, unless the Common Council decides to end it sooner.
“Businesses in Milwaukee have endured significant consequences from the pandemic, and I appreciate all the efforts they have made to reduce the spread of the disease,” Johnson said, according to WISN12.
During the Milwaukee County’s weekly update on COVID-19, Johnson remarked that there had already been a mask advisory in place and the ordinance makes it more official.
“Even more importantly besides masking, is to get vaccinated,” he said. “That is the number one tool we have to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and keep hospitalizations low.”
According to the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard, the current rate of positive COVID-19 cases is about 27.9%. Furthermore, about 59.7% of residents have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Last week, the City of Milwaukee Health Department distributed N95 masks, which are considered to offer a higher level of protection, at its health centers and testing sites.
According to Johnson, the Health Department is working with Milwaukee Public Schools to distribute 300,000 masks to schools.
The Biden Administration recently announced it will be distributing 400 million N95 masks. The masks will be available at pharmacies and community health centers, CNN reported, adding that the masks are free.
Unlike the past mask mandates, health officials won’t be enforcing it, TMJ4 reported. The previous mask mandate took place from July 2020 to June 2021. During that time, the city issued 144 citations to violators who disregarded the rules which included social distancing requirements in addition to masks, according to TMJ4.
Aside from the masks, local officials continue to focus on education and vaccination efforts.
For additional information regarding testing sites, vaccines sites or masks visit healthymke.com.