Jeramey Jannene
Transportation

The Hop Now Wears a Mask

"Spread the word, not the virus" is message in new rolling mask billboard.

By - Aug 18th, 2020 01:48 pm
The Hop sports a Mask Up MKE wrap. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Hop sports a Mask Up MKE wrap. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Mask Up MKE campaign gained a rolling billboard on Tuesday.

One of The Hop’s streetcar vehicles now has a marketing wrap that features a mask on the front of the vehicle and a message that says “spread the word, not the virus.”

The mask campaign is led by Saukville-based company Rebel Converting.

“Five months ago our nation had a severe shortage of masks, and Rebel Converting realized it could donate our material to produce millions of masks,” said Loretta Kryshak of Rebel Converting at a press conference to unveil the vehicle. The company has now given away 3.5 million masks.

Municipal judge Derek Mosley is one of four people pictured on the side of the streetcar wearing a mask. Mosley was on a ventilator in March and early April fighting COVID-19, an experience he said he doesn’t want anyone else to undergo.

“When I was in the hospital, in the ICU, fighting COVID, the one thing I remember was how lonely it was,” said the judge. He said the one memory he has is healthcare workers coming in, covered head to toe in personal protective equipment. He learned that many of them were living lives separate from their families. “I wear my mask for them.”

Mosley said it took until August for his breathing to get back to “normal,” but he still fears the potential longterm health effects of the disease including organ failure. Mosley received a kidney transplant in 2016.

The number of new cases and percentage of tests confirming a positive case of the disease in Milwaukee have slowed in recent weeks, but still remain above the state average. “We attribute many of the gains being made to wearing masks,” said Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik. The city’s mask mandate went into effect July 16th.

“We are truly making a difference and saving lives,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

But announcing a public health campaign wasn’t what Barrett anticipated doing on the second day of the Democratic National Convention. “We had pictured our streetcars being jam-packed with convention-goers this week,” said the mayor.

Ridership on the system in June, the last month for which ridership is posted, is down 80 percent from 2019. The city’s mask ordinance requires riders of the system to wear a mask.

The United Way of Greater Milwaukee, represented at the press conference by Nicole Angresano, is covering the costs of the vehicle wrap. Free masks will be provided for riders from dispensers onboard.

Rebel Converting normally uses the mask material to manufacture hospital-grade disinfecting wipes.

Photos

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