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City of Racine narrowly passes mask mandate

NOW: City of Racine narrowly passes mask mandate

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Racine is the latest local city to pass a mask mandate.

The Common Council debated for an hour-and-a-half before the mandate passed by the slimmest of margins.  The council voted 8-7 in favor of the mandate.

The ordinance is a lot like the one that passed the Milwaukee council earlier this month.

It requires everyone to wear a mask inside any building or business that is open to the public.

It also requires people to wear masks outside if they are within six feet of another person that is not in their household.

The City of Racine held a series of public meetings before passing this ordinance.

Alderman John Tate is in favor of the mandate. “I think it’s important we also illustrate officially what is the responsible position, that is to, when you’re engaging with others, wear a mask, and it’s also officially when you’re being irresponsible,” said Tate.

But some are worried what it will do to local businesses, and how it will be enforced.

“People that are going to wear masks are going to wear them, people who aren’t going to wear them don’t really care what anybody says, it’s not going to happen,” said Alderman Jeff Coe.

The Racine Police Department will be in charge of enforcement, but they said it would not be a priority.  They have thousands of masks they plan on handing out to people in the community who need them.

A fine for someone not wearing a mask would be $25 on the first offense, $50 on the second and $100 on the third.  Businesses can be fined anywhere from $50 to $500.

The mandate will begin on July 27 and run until the end of the year.  The Common Council has the option of ending it before that date.

The council also voted 15-0 in favor of an amendment that would allow them to revisit the mandate in October.

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