MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police are seeking voluntary compliance of the stay-at-home order, but a city official believes enforcement should be a consequence if large gatherings continue.
D'Angelo Montgomery said he only left his home Thursday to fill up on gas, which is considered an essential trip under the state's 'Safer at Home' order. But based on what he saw in his north-side community on Wednesday when the order took effect, he could hardly notice a difference.
"Guys outside playing ball, kids running around crazy, just the usual like it's a summertime thing," Montgomery said.
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Alderman Russell Stamper said several supervisors with the Milwaukee Police Department reached out to him to share concerns about large gatherings on the north side. In this area, a majority of the city's coronavirus cases have been located.
"What that tells me is that they're either unaware or they're not taking this as serious as it is," Stamper said.
Milwaukee police said individuals who were approached by officers outside and at businesses voluntarily dispersed from gatherings.
Chicago's mayor recently warned her city that the crowded beaches and public parks they've seen are frustrating and not allowed.
Under Wisconsin's order, law enforcement can issue $250 fines and up to 30 days in jail for those caught breaking the rules. Gov. Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett both said that would only happen for flagrant offenses.
"I am going to support enforcement of this stay-at-home order particularly because of the health and overall concern of the community," Stamper said.
Stamper hopes residents take the order seriously and enforcement isn’t needed.
Montgomery believes that may be the only way to get people to pay attention.
"People will never get it, so I say start applying pressure," he said. "People hate paying money. Start costing them, start charging them."
Under Wisconsin's order, people can still go to Milwaukee County parks for exercise, but they must stay 6 feet away from others.
Stamper said several city officials are teaming up with the Milwaukee Health Department and police on a social media campaign to spread the word.