Milwaukee Common Council approves stay-at-home citation law change

NOW: Milwaukee Common Council approves stay-at-home citation law change

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Saturday marks the one month anniversary of Governor Tony Evers' safer at home order.

Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council created a specific citation to give to people caught violating the order. The city says over a hundred people have been arrested so far.

"We try to message first, we try to educate, but push comes to shove, we have to do our job," said Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.

Over the last month, Morales said officers arrested 107 people for violating the safer at home order. They've also been checking on hundreds of businesses.

"COVID related business calls, we have a total of 282 that we've done so far," said Morales.

But police have only been able to make arrests and issue citations for people refusing to follow their orders. The Milwaukee Common Council passed a measure giving officers specific authority to enforce the stay at home order.

"We have a warning out and now the people who just choose to ignore that warning, there should be some level of consequence," said Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.

Under the ordinance, violators can be fined $500 and jailed for up to 20 days for lack of payment. Lewis said there should be consequence for putting others at risk.

"If you are deliberately putting people's lives at risk because you think you're smarter than the health officials, smarter than the scientists, then guess what, there should be some definite repercussions for you," said Lewis.

The council's public safety committee stressed arrest is the last resort. Officers will have leeway to determine whether a warning or citation is more appropriate.

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