Mask mandate approaching, Dane Co. businesses and Vilas Zoo to enforce

The public health order will take effect on Monday at 8 a.m.
Published: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:11 PM CDT
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DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s first county-wide mask mandate takes effect on Monday, and Dane County is preparing.

The public health order will require masks to be worn by everyone ages 5 and up in every indoor public space, including gyms.

Shana Verstegen, the fitness director of Supreme Health and Fitness, said she anticipates mixed reactions from her members.

“We’re expecting a pushback and maybe a loss of some memberships because people aren’t comfortable exercising inside with a mask on,” she said. “But we also hope some people will feel a little bit safer coming inside now that everybody will have their faces covered.”

Verstegen explained that, personally, she has been wearing a mask through all of her workouts: “It is a little bit of learning curve. The first few times it feels a bit strange, but you have to find the right mask.”

She recommended masks that are made of lighter, cooler material—now made by many athletic brands. She also said to avoid cotton and surgical paper masks, which can easily absorb sweat.

Starting Monday, Henry Vilas Zoo will also be requiring masks across its entire outdoor park and indoor facilities. Jess Thompson, the education curator, explained that its own mask rule is “in conjunction with” that of Dane County.

She said, “Because we have more opportunities in our zoo for more people to be closer together, we are following along the same timeline and asking people to wear masks while inside the zoo at the same time.”

The intention, according to Thompson, is to protect animals, as cases of COVID-19 have been found in big cats, primates and others.

Zoo guests also showed mixed reaction. Erin Hobson asked, “How would our masks help protect the animals? We’re not that close to them. They are blocked.”

Thompson explained the rationale: “We do feel very good about our animal safety, but we want to add that extra layer of precaution.”

Dane County’s mask mandate takes effect Monday at 8 a.m.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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