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Could Green Bay get a face mask ordinance?

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 19:44:04-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- A Green Bay alderperson said he's putting forth a face mask ordinance at the Protection and Policy Committee meeting on July 13, 2020.

Alderperson Randy Scannell said while he believes many businesses and individuals are voluntarily wearing face masks already, he feels there is a small bunch of people who are not which could be a risk to others. According to the CDC, "The cloth face covering helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It helps keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people." Just this week, Brown County Public Health reported that the age group with the highest number of cases was 21-30 years old.

Scannell said the ordinance has not been drafted yet. He said he will put forth the proposal at the meeting and hopes it will be referred to staff to come up with an ordinance. He said he hopes it then will go back to the committee and, next, to the council.

"We'll see what happens going forward. I think there's a lot of support for this. I hope we can take some practical medical steps to ensure that our community is safe, and we can open up and get back to business," said Scannell. "The more people feel safe, the more they will come out and enjoy the public, so hopefully this helps business. This helps everybody out."

Brown County Deputy Executive Jeff Flynt said this is the only push for an ordinance they have heard of at this point. He said right now, neither the Brown County Executive, county board, nor public health officer have put forth an ordinance that would required those in Brown County to wear a mask. The county's ability to enforce an ordinance is also a question, Flynt said.

"If in the event the request does come forward, the legality and enforce-ability of such an ordinance is still highly in question. The Wisconsin Counties Association has a work group that a diving into some of those details and areas to provide municipalities and counties with potential guidance, but right now, we haven't heard anything definitive from them, either, so that is the great unknown and a concern," added Flynt.

Individual businesses are able to decide for themselves if they'd like to require visitors to wear face masks.