MILWAUKEE - While 12 community groups on Wednesday, Sept. 29 urged the return of Milwaukee's mask mandate, that likely won't come from the city's health commissioner.
The topic of a new indoor mask mandate came up during Thursday's Common Council Public Safety and Health Committee meeting. Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson has the authority to implement a mandate but said she is not planning to because enforcement has become a major challenge.
Johnson said a majority of people are contracting COVID-19 at events when they are with family members or people with whom they are comfortable – and that is where a mask mandate would not apply.
"If I thought masking...universal masking indoors was going to reduce the number of cases, I would do it," said Johnson. "I don’t feel strongly that...I don’t think that it will have the impact that we want it to have."
Some council members disagreed with Johnson, who said she is not against a mandate but thinks the Common Council, which can also implement the mandate, should do it through an ordinance, which is how the city required masks last year. That mask requirement expired on June 1, 2021.