Milwaukee Institutes New Mask Ordinance

Building Owners and Operators Responsible for Ensuring Compliance

Starting January 22, 2022, Milwaukee’s new mask ordinance will go into effect until March 1, 2022.  While similar to the previous Milwaukee Cares mask ordinance which expired on June 1, 2021 (see Lake Effect’s prior blog), the new ordinance has some distinct differences.  The new ordinance requires Milwaukee residents age 3 and older to wear face coverings when they leave their residence “whenever the person is in a building open to the public.”

The new ordinance provides certain exceptions (new provisions bolded below), including for:

  • children under the age of 3
  • persons with certain health conditions or disabilities
  • persons obtaining or rendering goods or services when it is not feasible to wear masks while obtaining or rendering the services, including but not limited to performers during rehearsals or performances, individuals receiving dental services or medical treatments or individuals consuming food or beverages
  • persons engaged in athletic activities or cleansing related to athletic activities
  • persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing face coverings
  • circumstances where it is necessary to verify an individual’s identity

The new ordinance removes the following exception:

  • persons present in government facilities closed to the public, institutions of higher education, and other public and private schools or childcare facilities that have a mitigation strategy approved by the Commissioner of Health

As with the prior Milwaukee Cares mask ordinance, the new Milwaukee mask ordinance relies on building owners and operators to monitor compliance. The ordinance affords owners or operators of any buildings open to the public “the right to refuse entry or service to any person for failure to comply” with the mask requirements.  Of note, the ordinance states only that “the health department may enforce this [penalty and enforcement] section.”  The ordinance outlines possible courses of action the health department may take if it receives a compliant that a business owner or operator has allowed a person to violate the mask ordinance.

The Lake Effect team will continue to monitor important updates such as these from cities and counties across the state. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at or 1-844-333-5253.

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