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Should masks be mandatory? Debate in WI continues

Local officials say its been a recent topic of conversation.
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Many states are mandating masks as coronavirus cases continue to surge nationwide.

So could it happen here? Local officials say its been a recent topic of conversation.

“It makes me feel uncomfortable going to stores when I don’t see customers and especially when I don’t see employees wearing masks,” says Waunakee resident Katie Morgan. Morgan says she recently went to a pharmacy for a prescription and was surprised at what she saw. “There were employees walking around the pharmacy without masks on. that was uncomfortable for me,” she says.

“Individual, private establishments can require people to wear masks, and I certainly would encourage that,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Health officials say wearing a mask is an effective tool for managing the spread of COVID-19. There’s no federal mandate but more local leaders are now requiring them. More and more states are adopting rules for wearing masks.

Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states in the country without any restrictions on wearing a mask in public or inside businesses. NBC15 asked Gov. Evers if a mask mandate could happen in Wisconsin. He says he doesn’t have the authority to mandate it but individual counties could.

In Dane County, health officials say while they highly recommend face coverings in public, they don’t believe it’s a “one size fits all” solution. Certain health conditions may keep someone from being able wear one. It could also be challenging, dangerous or stressful for people with disabilities.

Some may not feel safe wearing a mask because of emotional, behavioral and traumatic experiences, or fear racial profiling or discrimination.

But officials say if you can safely wear one, you should.

“I want folks to keep each other safe, I want folks to wear their masks, keep their distance, wash their hands and take care of each other,” Gov. Tony Evers says.

NBC15 News also spoke to public health officials in Sauk County, who says they are also urging people to wear masks, but add they don’t believe enforcing a mandate would be successful.

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