Green Bay Officials Get Death Threats for Mask Mandate
'What have we come to, not in Green Bay, no one should be threatened.'
More than a dozen officials in the city of Green Bay have received threats after its City Council passed a mask ordinance last week.
Beginning Monday, face coverings will be required for anyone over the age of 5 in indoor, public spaces. The Green Bay City Council voted 7-5 in favor of the mandate on Tuesday.
Council member Barbara Dorff did a lot of research before voting in support of the ordinance, she said. She believes wearing masks can help slow the spread of the coronavirus before school starts this fall.
But she’s never experienced anything like this, she said.
“When they start threatening your family, which is what happened, it’s even hard to describe how horrible that feels,” Dorff said.
Every council member, regardless of how they voted, has received death threats since last week’s meeting, Dorff said. According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, Police Chief Andrew Smith, Mayor Eric Genrich and City Attorney Vanessa Chavez also received threats related to the mandate.
Police are working to address the threats, Dorff said. In the meantime, people on both sides of the mask debate have reached out to offer their support, she said.
“Even people that were opposed to the mask ordinance are rallying on Facebook and saying, ‘What have we come to, not in Green Bay, no one should be threatened,'” she said.
Last week’s City Council meeting lasted more than two-and-a-half hours, with many residents weighing in on the ordinance. Overall, Dorff said she received more feedback in favor of the mandate than against it. Since it passed, she’s received more messages of thanks than threats, she said.
Dorff thinks maybe the pressures of life amid the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the extreme response from some residents.
Smith and Genrich both posted videos on social media Friday asking residents and visitors to voluntarily comply with the ordinance while in Green Bay. Mask violations will be “low-priority” calls, but violators could be fined up to $73.60 or even arrested for trespassing, Smith said.
“I don’t want to see anybody go to jail. I don’t want to see anybody get a ticket,” he said.
On Thursday, Brown County’s Human Services Committee voted to draft several versions of a similar ordinance that could go to its Board of Supervisors for a vote next month to establish a county-wide mandate.
Green Bay Officials Receive Threats Over Mask Ordinance was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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