Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Shortens List of Acceptable Masks For Bus Riders, Zoo Patrons and Courthouse Visitors

There are new restrictions on what kind of masks are allowed within county facilities.

By - Oct 22nd, 2020 04:17 pm
Man wearing a mask. Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Man wearing a mask. (Pixabay License).

As COVID-19’s spread continues to worsen, Milwaukee County is revising its mask order for all county-owned facilities making the requirements stricter by reducing the number of different face coverings people can wear. The requirements apply to everything from Milwaukee County Transit System buses to the Milwaukee County Zoo.

During a media briefing Thursday, County Executive David Crowley said the new order is based upon recent mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC issued new guidelines for mask wearing on public transportation and in transportation hubs. And the change also brings the county in line with the state’s latest mask order, he said.

The new restrictions on mask wearing in the county apply to what types of masks are allowed in county buildings and facilities.

The following are allowed: FDA-approved face masks, non-medical grade procedural masks, disposable paper masks or washable face masks with two or more layers of breathable fabric.

The following are not allowed: Scarves, bandanas, neck gaiters, face shields, masks with valves or vents and masks with inappropriate images or writing.

Also, given the “potential lethal threat of the COVID-19 virus,” Crowley said, and “the extensive research that shows a universal mask policy is protective of human health during this global pandemic,” the religious exemptions from mask wearing have been removed from this latest mask order.

There are exemptions from the new face mask order that cover children two years old or younger, anyone who has difficulty breathing, anyone with a disability that makes it difficult to wear a face mask, anyone that has been advised not to wear a mask by a medical professional for health reasons, anyone that primarily relies on lip-reading and anyone who is incapacitated.

Milwaukee County does not have a health department or health officer, so the new county mask order only applies to its property – county-owned buildings and facilities. 

No one trying to use a county facility will be turned away because they do not have a proper mask, Crowley said, noting that all county facilities have masks available to the public.

All Milwaukee County buses have a mask dispenser that can hold 200 surgical masks. The transit system is distributing approximately 7,000 masks a week, Dan Boehm, Milwaukee County Transit System managing director recently told the county board.

Buses also still have capacity restrictions in place, limiting each bus to no more than 15 passengers.

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6 thoughts on “MKE County: County Shortens List of Acceptable Masks For Bus Riders, Zoo Patrons and Courthouse Visitors”

  1. dmkrueger2 says:

    Masks with inappropriate images or writing are prohibited.
    Really? I can sympathize with safety but who cares about what’s written – most are too small to read/interpret anyway.

    Anyone that primarily relies on lip-reading does not have to wear a mask.
    Really? How do they read “my” lips if “I” have a mask on?

  2. just1paul says:

    Excuse me? I wear glasses and hearing aids and cannot wear the ear loop masks. I have been wearing doubled up neck gaiters and will continue to do so. Will the bus company pay for my groceries to be delivered? As for inappropriate writings or images, I won’t get that close to be able to decipher it. I also have a hard time sometimes understanding people under a mask especially if they mumble.

  3. just1paul says:

    I completely agree with dmkrueger2 also.

  4. TransitRider says:

    If you can’t wear a mask over your ears, you can easily wear it around the back of your head instead. All you need is two rubber bands and a paper clip. See this video:

    The two-rubber-bands-and-one-paperclip thing is the second of 3 items in the video.

    Masks save lives.

  5. just1paul says:

    TransitRider I tried that and it irritates me to no end. Too much stuff going on around/near the ears. Thanks though

  6. TransitRider says:

    I agree that ear-loop masks can get uncomfortable. After an hour or so, my ears start to lose feeling (sort of like they would outside on a sub-zero day), so I’m lucky that I’m retired and don’t have to wear them for too long at a time.

    But having said that, I’d much sooner lose feeling in my ears for a few hours than to lose my sense of taste and smell for weeks, so I wear a mask whenever I’m with others.

    Not all masks use ear-loops. Many masks (notably N95 masks) are designed to loop around the entire head (two much longer pieces of elastic, each running from one end of the mask to the other). These can be positioned away from the ears.

    I don’t know how to find such a mask, but keep looking.

    (One simple thing President Biden could do is use the Defense Production Act to increase the mask supply. Mask supply is one of Trump’s MANY Covid failures. We should aim to make N95 masks freely available to everybody for $1 or $2 each; right now even health workers can’t get enough of these!!!)

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