Milwaukee mask mandate, COVID order end June 1

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday, May 18 announced the city will end the "Moving Milwaukee Forward" health order related to COVID-19 – effective June 1.

As a result, the city's mask ordinance – which is tied to the order – will also end on June 1.

Places like restaurants or Fiserv Forum can still implement their own mask requirements past June 1. Until then, Milwaukee's mask mandate applies to indoor public spaces for those age 3 and older, and it also applies outdoors when within six feet of people who do not live with you or aren't part of your family. 

"Just as we have at every critical point along the way, followed the CDC guidance, we will continue to follow the CDC guidance," Barrett said.

Tuesday's announcement came five days after the CDC's surprise announcement that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks except when using public transit or when law requires it.

"I think an obvious question is: ‘Why June 1, why not today?’ Well, first, individual locations, such as businesses, schools, stores and event spaces can continue to establish their own masking requirements," said Barrett. "We are offering this upcoming 13-day period so that they can determine what is right for them."

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Last Thursday, May 13, Barrett and Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced that the order would expire on June 15. Hours later, the CDC updated its guideline – prompting health leaders to re-evaluate their timelines.

"(It's) very difficult to have a mask mandate or order that is only for individuals who are unvaccinated," Johnson said. "We are trusting residents, individuals in the city of Milwaukee to be honest and wear a mask if they are unvaccinated.

"We are very hopeful this incentivizes people who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated."

The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed the current mask ordinance in July 2020. 


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