Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Allows Salons, Barbershops To Reopen

New order is similar to the order issued by Milwaukee suburbs Wednesday night.

By - May 14th, 2020 06:25 pm
Mayor Tom Barrett speaks to the media via zoom.

Mayor Tom Barrett speaks to the media via Zoom in early April.

The City of Milwaukee is aligning itself with the 18 surrounding Milwaukee County suburbs and allowing barbershops, tattoo parlors, spas and playgrounds to reopen.

“I think it strikes the balance we need to strike,” said Mayor Tom Barrett in announcing the new order Thursday afternoon.

Gatherings in both orders are restricted to 10 or less people.

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court released its decision to void the state’s Safer at Home order last night, the city reverted back to an order Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik had issued in late March. That order substantially matched the state’s original.

“I felt that the city benefitted immensely back in March when we issued our Safer at Home order and we didn’t put in an expiration date,” said Barrett. The city’s order has not been challenged in court. “I don’t want to create an arbitrary deadline for this.”

The remaining Milwaukee County communities issued a joint order late Wednesday night that was similar to the original state order, but allowed salons and spas to reopen as well as indoor shopping malls. Bars and restaurants must remain closed to in-person patronage.

In anticipation of the court’s ruling, the communities had already been working on a new order. “One of the things we tried to do when crafting this plan for Milwaukee County over the past several weeks is to provide an immediate step forward,” said Greenfield public health officer Darren Rausch of why salons and spas were allowed to open when the state Department of Health Services had never permitted them.

The county order has a May 21st expiration date, but Rausch said that he doesn’t expect all restrictions to be removed at that point. At the time of publication, all of the counties surrounding Milwaukee have declined to issue a local order.

Deputy city attorney Adam Stephens told a Common Council committee Thursday morning that the city was contemplating a new order.

Barrett said there are differences that remain between the two. The city’s order allows residential cleaning services to again provide service. It also more forcefully requires wearing of equipment such as face masks, noting that they are “strongly recommended” in virtually every indoor circumstance when people leave their homes. “I wanted to have a little bit stronger language as it relates to personal protective equipment,” he said. The order does not require masks be worn because of equity issues with access to PPE. On Thursday morning Alderman Khalif Rainey pushed the health department to find ways to supply PPE to city residents.

The city order also still does not have an expiration date. “There is no way for us to have a set date when we know it’s over,” said the mayor. “This order shall remain in effect until Gating Criteria are met and maintained and a new order is issued for Phase A of the proposed Local Health Plan for Milwaukee County plan,” reads the order.

Beyond providing written guidance on how salons and spas, as well as other businesses, should operate, the city intends to provide training. “We are planning to have a Zoom tutorial so they understand what they should be doing, can be doing,” said Barrett.

The city’s new order was signed Thursday afternoon. But Kowalik is out on temporary medical leave to address a postponed medical issue, so special deputy commissioner Sanjib Bhattacharyya, is the official that technically issued the order under state statute 252.03.

A full copy of the order is available on Urban Milwaukee.

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Categories: Health

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