'It’s really a personal choice now': City of Kenosha mask mandate expires ahead of Memorial Day weekend

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KENOSHA (CBS 58) -- A big change in the city of Kenosha. Thursday, May 27, the city's mask mandate expired. It's now optional to wear a mask in public.

“It’s really a personal choice now," John Morrissey said. 

John Morrissey is Kenosha's city administrator. He says the decision to lift the mask ordinance ultimately came down to aldermen compromising.

“There’s those alderpersons that think we should have a mask mandate or face coverings and then there’s those that think it should have expired a while ago," he said. “The compromise was this morning at 12:01 a.m. to expire, and part of that was because of the Memorial Day weekend coming up, that was the driving factor between the two of them." 

As of Monday, May 24, 36-percent of Kenosha County’s population has been vaccinated. However, there’s still a push to get people to wear a mask if they didn’t get the vaccine.

“If you’re not vaccinated, we suggest you get vaccinated, we suggest if you have any kind of current illnesses or issues, wear a mask," Morrissey said. 

Businesses now have the choice to make their own rules.

“We are telling them it is totally up to them what policies they wish to do," said Morrissey. 

Brett Bjorn is the owner of Mike Bjorn’s clothing store in downtown Kenosha. He says he’s given his customers free reign.

“We’re kind of allowing customers to either come in with or without a mask on," Bjorn said. “Same with my employees, they’re allowed to either have them on or take them off, all my employees are vaccinated so I feel pretty safe on our end.”

Many people do not feel as safe. Psychologist Shilagh Mirgain says many people may still be afraid to go maskless or return to normalcy.

“If you have some no-mask anxiety, you’re afraid of going out in the world without a mask, if you’re afraid of resuming some of those interactions or activities that the CDC deems safe, just slowly in small, sustainable steps, approach those things," Mirgain said. 

The city administrator says if there’s no spike in cases by June 21, they’re looking forward to fully going back to normal.

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