OnFocus – On March 31, the State Supreme Court struck down Governor Evers’ mask mandate. As a result, the City may now lift its mask requirement for city buildings/facilities, if desired.
“With the number of new COVID-19 cases declining in recent weeks, and a rising number of our citizens getting the vaccine, it might make sense to look at this option,” City Administrator Steve Barg said in a memo. “Even if the requirement is lifted, we would continue other appropriate health and safety precautions during the pandemic, and the mask requirement can always be re-implemented later, if conditions warrant.”
During discussion of the topic, Alderman Adam Fischer made the motion to remove the mask mandate immediately from all city-controlled buildings. The motion was seconded by Alderman Ken Bargender.
“I respect people’s right to not wear a mask,” said Alderman Adam Fischer. “I have a lot of ideas and opinions…but I feel strongly that everybody has a right to do what they feel is best for their own health.”
“I think it should be left to individuals,” said Bargender. “We take risk everywhere we go. Riding a car, walking across the street, walking to Wal-Mart, Kwik Trip, anywhere there’s risk involved. People who feel the need should wear the mask…hopefully we’re coming to the end of this and in 60 days it’ll be a moot point anyway. I think it’s a good idea to let people do what they think is right.”
Alderman Wagner clarified to his counterparts that the mandate is not about protecting those who wish to not wear the mask.
“It’s not about you,” said Alderman Ed Wagner. “That’s the problem with this. There has been since the beginning of time the need for the tribe, the society, to protect itself, the society as a whole. That’s what the mask is about – protecting society as a whole.”
Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids are continuing the mask requirement in their city buildings/facilities until further notice. Across Wisconsin, some communities are looking at lifting the requirement later this spring once the vaccine has been available to everyone for a specified period of time.
“We are making a decision for the employees we employ, not the greater Marshfield area,” clarified Council President Tom Witzel.
The motion failed 4-6 with Aldermen Bargender, Fischer, Spiros and Buttke voting in favor of the dropping of the mask requirement in city buildings. The subject will be discussed at a later meeting, after City staff has an opportunity to express their wishes.
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