Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Drops Mask Rules for Courthouse, Buses

Low COVID risk designation prompts change, "high risk" settings still require masks.

By - Sep 30th, 2022 02:20 pm

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia (GFDL) or (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County is eliminating mask requirements for a number of public facilities, including the Milwaukee County Courthouse and Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) buses.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downgraded Milwaukee to a “low” level of community risk for COVID-19. This is based on the number of new cases, hospital admissions and healthcare capacity to deal with the disease. A statement from County Executive David Crowley said that the decision was made in consultation with public health officials to change a number of the masking requirements for county employees, volunteers and visitors to public facilities.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have committed to a stepwise approach informed by data, national guidelines, and an equity focus, that can be scaled based on community risk,” the statement said. “Our hope is that this current COVID-19 decrease continues, but, if needed, we now have tools in place to be agile and adjust our response to COVID-19 to protect and serve our colleagues and our community.”

Notably, masks will not be required in the courthouse for the first time since the start of the pandemic. On MCTS buses, masks are being downgraded from required to encouraged. In April, the transit system announced that masks would no longer be required as a result of a federal court ruling, only to abruptly revert back to requiring them explaining that after careful consideration the system opted to keep masks, noting “Some of the most vulnerable, high-risk residents rely on our buses to travel throughout the County each day.” Enforcement of the mask mandate has been virtually nonexistent in recent weeks.

Mask requirements at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and on airplanes ended following the April federal court ruling, but the county continues to encourage masking at the facility.

The county is maintaining masking requirements at facilities deemed “high risk,” or those that serve vulnerable populations. All staff, volunteers, visitors and volunteers will still be required to wear a mask at the Milwaukee County Jail, House of Correction, Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center and in behavioral health clinical settings, like the Mental Health Emergency Center (MHEC). This also applies to the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center, 1220 W. Vliet St. The county is also maintaining masking requirements for anyone that has been exposed to the virus within the past 10 days.

The City of Milwaukee instituted two mask mandates that applied to all public spaces, including private businesses. The latest expired in March, and since that time the city has opted to strongly encourage masking when it was at medium or high community risk for COVID-19.

A complete list of masking requirements for county facilities can be found on Urban Milwaukee.

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Categories: Health, MKE County

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