Shorewood mask mandate takes effect, village eyes 'inform and educate' approach to enforcement

SHOREWOOD -- A mask mandate in the Village of Shorewood took effect Friday, July 10, requiring people to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. It's set to run until January 2021 -- but could last longer.

Gene Webb of North Shore Boulangerie, said the mandate makes sense.

"I think it is an excellent thing," Webb said. "I think it's good health policy, and if we see it as such I think all much better off."

Webb and other business owners on the block said they support the new ordinance.

"It's nice as a business owner to have the village trustees and village hall behind us," said Webb.

Village Trustee Arthur Ircink said the ordinance applies to anyone ages 4 and up and is set to last until January 2021. However, Ircink said, the decisions to extend or end the ordinance when that time comes remains an option.

"Now is the time to do this. It's a very urgent matter," Ircink said. "At that point, the village board will reassess the condition of the community and the pandemic and we'll make a decision whether to extend that or take the mask ordinance away."

Arthur Ircink

The Village says it will contact businesses and people who do not follow the mandate. A form to file a complaint is on the village website.

"Instead of penalize, we want to inform and educate our community and our businesses," said Ircink. "That will be our first step, but after multiple complaints, we will look to take further action and that is to be determined."

On Oakland Avenue, people and business owners are getting used to the new ordinance. Nick Skaros and his family own the Shorewood Coin Shop.

"I'm not a fan of wearing a mask all the time, but it is what it is to keep people safe," Skaros said. "Once in a while someone doesn't want to wear a mask but you kind of explain it and they kind of get it."

There is no mask requirement for outdoor areas, but village leaders encourage people to wear masks outdoors if they cannot social distance. The village is also trying to figure out how to distribute masks to people in need.