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Campaign pushes for Milwaukee leaders to enact mask policy; decision looms

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee residents will soon see a public service announcement online, with video of crowds in the city and a call to avoid ending up like other states that have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Save lives," said Heather Perkins with Ignite Change, which is coordinating the "MaskUpMKE" campaign. "This is all about saving lives. We know from looking at other countries that these measures save lives.”

This comes as Milwaukee city leaders work on a plan to mandate masks for public places in some capacity. Details of the policy are still being ironed out.

The campaign is an offshoot of the “MaskUpMKE” campaign, which has donated nearly 3 million masks to the area.

But many are worried making the masks won’t accomplish much if people don’t have to wear them.

“We’ve been relying on the selflessness of others really, to wear a mask," Rebel Converting owner Michael Kryshak said. "And as much as I hate to say it, I don’t believe that you’re going to get compliance unless there is legislation.”

The movement does have public support. Jeff Bentoff, also involved in the campaign, started an online petition pushing for masks in public spaces.

“My petition is now over 12,000 people,” Bentoff said.

The online petition also has links and information for residents to contact city leaders about the policy.

“The next step is really going to be the city's," Bentoff said. "So we’re hoping that getting people’s attention on the issue will make a difference.”

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic’s office was still working on drafting the legislation for the policy as of Monday afternoon, July 6.

They are optimistic they will complete the legislation, create a special council meeting, pass it through the full Common Council, and have Mayor Tom Barrett sign off on it by the weekend of July 10.

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