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Health commissioner says mask mandate is needed in Milwaukee to stop virus spread

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City of Milwaukee leaders on Thursday, July 2 discussed a proposed ordinance to mandate face masks in public and what it would look like if it goes into effect. 

A vote on the ordinance was not taken Thursday. The main topics discussed were how and if it will be enforced and concerns about required masks in certain outdoor situations. 

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik sad her department would be the enforcement agency and they could take away a business license if it does not comply with enforcing the mandate. However, Kowalik said they would not good door-to-door enforcing the mandate at outdoor group gatherings. 

Some Milwaukee Common Council members raised concern about requiring mask wearing while people exercise outdoors. City leaders say out of the 300 e-comments they received from the public, 203 support the ordinance. 

Kowalik said the mandate is needed because it is the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus. 

"We’re looking at the country at large and we’re seeing some concerning trends and we want to make sure we are salvaging some of the gains we’ve been able to make through a variety of public health orders with corporation with our community at large," Kowalik said.

The Common Council will discuss the proposed ordinance at their meeting on Tuesday, July 7 and plan to hold another special meeting about it in the future.

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