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De Pere City Council votes in favor of face mask mandate

The mandate will need to be approved again at the next council meeting before it goes into effect.
In a special meeting the De Pere city council will vote on a mask ordinance similar to Green Bay's.
In a special meeting the De Pere city council will vote on a mask ordinance similar to Green Bay's.(WBAY)
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - The De Pere City Council votes in favor of a face mask mandate in public spaces throughout the city, which was proposed by De Pere Mayor James Boyd.

Mayor Boyd proposed the ordinance which lead to a special city council meeting to help encourage mask wearing as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The ordinance passed on a 5-3 vote, with alders Dean Raasch, Kelly Rue, and Daniel Carpenter against.

The ordinance looks similar to the one passed in the City of Green Bay, which took effect on Monday.

During the meeting, about 30 people gave their opinions on the ordinance, after which the Council debated on how the ordinance is written.

In its current form, there are penalties for those who violate the ordinance. As proposed the first offence would be $10, the second offence would be $25 and the third offence could be $50 and any additional court fees.

There was also some discussion around doing an advisory versus a mandate.

“If the goal is to act for the greater good, and we already foresee some issues with enforcement, wouldn’t we get more buy-in from the people if we proceed with an advisory instead of a mandate?” asked Alder Kelly Ruh.

“I can say on behalf of myself and talking with Green Bay, and then looking at other municipalities that universally they said a mandate would work far better than a recommendation,” said Mayor James Boyd.

Councilors also talked about the impact a mandate would have on businesses.

“I do think the business owners who have been requiring the masks, it would be beneficial for the employees to have the city backing them up by requiring it throughout the city so they could point to the city ordinance for why they are enforcing this,” said Alder Jonathon Hansen.

“I’m concerned this puts our businesses into an even more difficult position where we have a mask mandate and they are not able to enforce in the time frame that it might need to be done here,” said Alder Dean Raasch.

The mandate will require people age 5 and older to wear a face covering in public.

Exemptions will include the following:

  • Those with disabilities or a medical condition
  • Exercising
  • Places of Worship
  • Outside

The ordinance will need to be read at the next city council meeting August 4 before it goes into effect. Alders will also discuss enforcement at that time.

ORIGINAL POST: The De Pere City Council will vote on a face mask ordinance during a special meeting Tuesday.

Mayor James Boyd proposed the ordinance to help encourage mask wearing as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It will also provide consistency within the community after Green Bay’s mask ordinance took effect on Monday.

The mandate will require people age 5 and older to wear a face covering in public.

People who have a disability, or medical condition that would prevent them from wearing a mask are exempt from the mandate. Those exercising, in places of worship and people outdoors are also exempt.

Business owners will be on the front lines of enforcement; it can also be enforced by the Health Director and Police Department.

The council is also expected to set a penalty.

Businesses that do not comply with the order could be subjected to “administrative action for any licenses they possess with the city.” People who violate the ordinance could also be subject to a municipal fine. As proposed the first offence would be $10, the second offence would be $25 and the third offence could be $50 and any additional court fees.

De Pere has its own health department, meaning any ordinance passed by Brown County supervisors would not apply.

The mandate would expire with the city’s emergency declaration.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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