Milwaukee business owners call for mandatory mask rule

By: - June 30, 2020 12:10 pm
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Ben Franklin on the 100 dollar bill with a face mask. Coronavirus affects the world economy. Getty Images

In a June 30 letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, the owners of more than 70 Milwaukee businesses are asking for the immediate declaration of a mandatory mask policy to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“Please don’t let us become Florida or Texas,” the business leaders write.

Hundreds of cities across America have mandated the wearing of face masks in public, the letter points out, and public health officials say wearing a mask is the best way — other than  staying at home — to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As infections in Wisconsin begin to rise again, now is the time for Milwaukee to implement this policy, the letter-writers argue. They point out that cities that reopened business without a mask policy, including Houston and Fort Lauderdale, saw big spikes in COVID-19 infections.

“Without a city mandate, many customers will not be willing to come to our businesses,” the business leaders write. “Compliance with requirements a business may establish will be inconsistent at best. Our employees can’t be assured of a safe work environment. And the risk is much higher for new outbreaks, which could result in new stay-at-home orders that put us out of business for good.”

The letter’s signers include the owners and operators of Fiserv Forum, Bartolotta Restaurants, Colectivo Coffee, Lowlands Group and the Pabst Theater Group, among many others.

There is also an online petition, sponsored by, that individuals can sign calling for a mask requirement in Milwaukee.

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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.