RACINE -- The City of Racine will require everyone above the age of 4 to wear a mask when leaving home starting Monday, July 27 -- a measure that the city's common council passed by just one vote on July 21.
Inside The Maple Table in downtown Racine, masks have been routine for months. A key part of the reopening plan for owner Tamara Lopiparo is trying to make ends meet at the restaurant that's just one year old.
"I spent a lot of time evaluating my life choices. It was tough. It was really tough," said Lopiparo.
The Maple Table
Masks helped the business reopening, and that's why Lopiparo said she was happy to see the Racine Common Council pass the mask mandate. She has lost a family member to the virus, and calls the mandate a better-safe-than-sorry measure for employees and customers alike.
"They're no good to us if they're sick and at home and get everybody else sick, then we would have to shut down again. And we want people to feel comfortable," Lopiparo said.
Further down Main Street, RG Natural Babies Owner Michelle Schimian questions whether the mandate actually brings any comfort to shoppers.
"They're gonna prefer to go places where they don't have to worry about putting it on when they walk in the door," said Schimian.
RG Natural Babies
Schimian and her staff have worn masks since reopening. She said they will continue to do so, but feels city leaders should have empowered business owners to make that decision on their own.
"What we need to hear from our mayor is that I trust these businesses. You know, I love this city and I trust these businesses to do the right thing and keep things safe," Schimian said.
Racine police said they will not use the ordinance as a way to write tickets. Rather, they'll use an education-first approach before issuing fines.