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Green Bay common council approves mask mandate

Green Bay City Hall
Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 23:02:42-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay's common council has approved a mask mandate within the city.

A special common council meeting Thursday drew sharp divisions over whether the city of Green Bay should enact the mandate.

Council approved an ordinance to declare a state of emergency in an 8 to 4 vote. Members passed a second ordinance 9 to 3 that requires face coverings be worn within city limits.

The resolution requires everyone five years and older to wear face coverings while indoors or in an enclosed space.

Some residents who spoke at the meeting are opposed to the measure.

"This is outrageous. If you want to wear a mask, fine, but you do not make businesses, you do not make citizens of Green Bay forced to do this," said Lucy, Green Bay.

Others are for it.

"My husband has cancer," said Lea Walschinski, Green Bay. "Even though my husband and I are very fortunate to have both doses of the Pfizer, he is still vulnerable. I've spoken to his oncologists at length and they are still advising that he should mask, and that others around him should mask. Even the people that are vaccinated still need to mask around him."

Alderperson Chris Wery, District 8, sent out an email survey on the matter. He said he received 218 responses.

"As you can imagine it was evenly split; 108 were for the mandate, 110 against," Wery said during the meeting.

The debate included council members too.

"I'm not for extending it any longer," Wery said. "I've heard from enough people that - let people chose."

"When I mask, yes I think it's going to protect me, but I'm also masking for other people just in case I would get it. I don't want to give it to someone else," said Alderperson Kathy Lefebvre, District 6.

Council members needed to declare a state of emergency in order to enact the mask mandate. The state of emergency will automatically expire on May 5 unless extended.

Several municipalities have enacted requirements since the statewide order was overturned Wednesday. Others have issued recommendations to continue wearing masks.