Racine Health Department proposes updates to city's mask ordinance

Coronavirus mask
Posted at 1:18 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 14:18:37-04

RACINE, Wis. — The City of Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox proposed amendments to the city's mask ordinance Friday, April 16.

She feels there's a need for clarification for schools and other places now that the statewide mandate was eliminated by the State Supreme Court.

“With the elimination of the statewide mask order, it is important that we clarify our local ordinance to keep consistent rules in place to protect the health of our residents," said Bowersox. "In particular, the main clarification makes clear that face coverings are required in schools. With schools now open and recent evidence that shows that new strains of COVID-19 may be more infectious to the school age population, we must make sure we keep our kids safe and masks remain one of the most effective tools to do that."

Updates to the ordinance include:

  • Bandanas, scarves, and gaiters are removed from the definition of “face covering.”
  • School cafeterias are added to the list of establishments offering or permitting food service, thus providing an exception for the wearing of face coverings while eating or drinking there.
  • Masks will be required in government facilities, institutions of higher education, public and private kindergarten through twelfth grade schools, and licensed childcare or youth facilities.
  • An exception to wearing face coverings is added for persons giving a religious, political, media, artistic, cultural, musical, theatrical, or other public presentation for an audience when actively speaking or performing.
    • Note: This exception applies to one person or to two persons if those persons reside within the same household and are able to maintain 6 feet distancing from other individuals at all times. While the face covering is removed, any speaker or performer must remain at least 6 feet away from all other persons at all times.

“If schools are going to open back up to students, we must make sure we do everything we can to make the school environment as safe as possible. All of the best public health guidance recommends mask in schools, so we are taking this opportunity to clarify that in our ordinance," said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

The ordinance will be on the agenda at the next Common Council meeting on Monday, April 19. Unless extended, the mask ordinance is set to expire at the end of June.

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