Milwaukee to review face mask ordinance following updated CDC guidance

NOW: Milwaukee to review face mask ordinance following updated CDC guidance

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Centers for Disease Control updated its mask guidelines for people spending time outdoors Tuesday, April 27.

Vaccinated or not, they can hike, bike, or gather in small groups outside without wearing a face mask.

But the new guidance conflicts with Milwaukee's mask ordinance.

The city requires people to wear a mask outside if they're within six feet of another household.

But officials said that could change.

At Estabrook Beer Garden, a face mask is required to get a beer, but that may change after the CDC eased mask guidelines for outdoor activities.

"When you look at the evidence behind where are the transmissions happening, there's very few instances of anything happening in the outdoor setting, provided that people are distancing," said UW Health Infection Prevention Director Dr. Nasia Safdar.

Milwaukee has a similar policy. The city requires masks outdoors for different households who gather within six feet of each other. Now, the city is looking at easing its ordinance.

"Internally we hope to have a conversation by the end of the day, we'll just coalesce around some ideas with the change and it's going to take a little bit of time to get through the process," said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.

It will take a bit of work. The Milwaukee Common Council passed its mask ordinance to stand up to legal challenges. Reworking the ordinance will take a similar effort.

"Moving forward we will continue that, it worked very, very well, and I have respect for the legislative process," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The mayor said council members, his office and the health department started meeting Tuesday to discuss tweaking the face mask ordinance to match the new CDC guidelines.

"People have been not able to leave the house for a year and a half at this point, so it's trying to be practical without increasing the risk for anyone," said Safdar.

The mayor couldn't give a specific timeline for how long this process will take.

A county spokesperson also said it will review the new CDC guidance as well.

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