Milwaukee officials prepare updated health order; COVID-19 precautions in place for early voting

The Milwaukee Health Department is gearing up for an updated public health order. Officials offered a glimpse of some revisions to come during a virtual COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, July 28.

"As noted before, COVID is impacting everyone," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said. "Policy works, whether people like it or not."

The Milwaukee Health Department is expected to issue Order 4.1 by Friday, July 31. Currently, Order 4.0 does not outline the city's mask ordinance which took effect on July 16.

Kowalik said guidelines for schools will also be amended in the updated order, taking into account feedback from schools that had reopening plans prepared. Right now, under Phase 4 reopening guidelines, in-person instruction is not allowed.

Plus, restaurants and bars with in-person dining should prepare to submit a safety plan if they'd like to continue welcoming customers indoors.

"Once that date hits, you're not going to be able to serve indoors unless you have that approved plan," Kowalik said.

In the meantime, officials are preparing for the fall primary on Aug. 11. In-person early voting began Tuesday, July 28 in Milwaukee. Due to COVID-19, masks will be required while voting, plexiglass barriers will be used, face shields will be worm by staff and all touchpoints will be frequently sanitized.

"Obviously we all remember what happened in April and the challenges we faced," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "The (Milwaukee) Election Commission has been working very, very hard to make sure this is, in essence, a marriage between our election commission and health department."

In-person early voting runs through Sunday, Aug. 9. For a full list of locations, CLICK HERE. If you are voting by mail, absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on election day.