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Brown County Supervisors propose four options for county wide mask mandate

All County Board Supervisors will have a chance to vote on a final ordinance or resolution.
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Brown County Human Services Committee debated several options Thursday night to require face coverings county wide.

This, after Green Bay passed its own face coverings ordinance late Tuesday.

One of the options would require face coverings outside the home and in large gatherings. 

The second would require face masks for staff and customers at essential businesses and a third ordinance would require the public to wear face masks on county owned property. 

The fourth option is a proposed resolution simply encouraging essential businesses to require face coverings.

“I think for the County Board to make a good informed decision, we need to have these in front of us. Obviously, if you’re against any face mask mandates it’s going to be pretty easy, you’re going to vote against all of these,” said Supervisor Tom Sieber, who is on the committee.  

The committee heard from members of the public who spoke against a county-wide mandate, followed by about two hours of discussion from supervisors.

“Let’s be real and let’s have a hard conversation, because this mandate is really going to be putting our officers and our constituents in a bad, bad situation,” said Supervisor Patrick Evans, who is on the committee. 

“Honestly, I feel like the best thing for our business right now is, to have uniform rules so that it’s not this contentious thing about making a political statement about where they shop,” said Supervisor Lindsay Dorff, who is not on the committee. 

County staff provided a draft ordinance very similar to Green Bay’s outlining requirements and exemptions under the county’s emergency declaration. 

People aged five and older would need to wear a face covering in any indoor public space, including buses and taxis.  

Exemptions would include people with disabilities, medical conditions, individuals communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, when wearing a mask would create significant work-related risk, people speaking to an audience, people exercising at a gym, or whenever federal, state or local laws would otherwise prohibit the wearing of a face mask. 

A penalty was also discussed at the committee which would put the county public health department in charge of enforcement.  

People could be subjected to a warning on a first offense and then a $10 forfeiture and legal fees if they don’t comply after that. 

The Human Services Committee is expected to hold a special meeting in the next few weeks to hash out the details of each proposal and make a recommendation to the full county board.  

All county board supervisors will have a chance to vote on a final ordinance or resolution.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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