Mayor Barrett on mask mandate day 1: 'Pleased that we’re seeing a good response so far'

NOW: Mayor Barrett on mask mandate day 1: ’Pleased that we’re seeing a good response so far’


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he was pleased to see a good response so far to Milwaukee's mask mandate. 

The ordinance went into effect Thursday, July 16. 

"If people don't have a mask, they cannot come in," said Marcella Doughtery, a bartender at Jo Cat's on Brady Street, "When they’re not drinking they put it up and people have been really respectful about it."

"I really think people have their own option of wearing a mask to be honest," said Joseph Howard, who was walking on Brady Street Thursday. 

"This is, for us, not a criminal issue, this is a public health issue," said Mayor Barrett when saying the enforcement is through the health department and not the police department. 

He said he was not sure how many dedicated members of the health department would be part of enforcing the masks. 

"The mechanism for the enforcement is really contacting the health department and then they will go out and do an educational component, if you will, and if the business is not complying, that’s when the fines would accumulate."

Barrett said over the weekend, before the mask mandate went into effect, the health department visited 94 different businesses throughout the city to check on social distancing and capacity. He said there were concerns at four of the locations. 

"With our distancing rules and now with the mask rule, I think that’s going to have an impact."

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