County discusses possible face covering ordinance
By Taylor J. Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – At a July 13 meeting, Portage County Health and Human Services board members discussed the possibility of enforcing a county-wide “face covering ordinance” that would see county residents wearing protective masks in indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Area residents had a chance to voice their thoughts on the possible ordinance to board officials, with an overwhelming number of locals standing in opposition to the proposed idea.
“The vast majority of masks only protect one an (additional) 9 percent. There is no proof these work and they should absolutely not be mandated by any government,” commented Dawn Provost.
Some spoke in favor of the ordinance, but the bulk of both online and in-person attendees spoke out against the mandated masks.
“We advocate for the wearing of masks,” commented Joe DeBauche. “It is an action to take to help the larger community.”
If the ordinance would pass, any person three years or older would have to wear a protective mask at any “building open to the public” or “outdoor public space and within six feet of any other person who is not a member of the person’s family or household.”
Exceptions could occur for those with existing medical issues.
Some locals noted they felt the ordinance language was vague and difficult to interpret.
Board officials said during the meeting that they had little time to prepare the document and that further refining would be done if the ordinance moves forward.
Business owners who don’t participate in enforcing the ordinance could receive a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500.
No motion was made during the discussion.
The ordinance will be discussed further by county officials this August. Follow the Portage County Gazette for updates on this story.
For the full ordinance, visit www.co.portage.wi.us/Home/Components/MeetingsManager/MeetingItem/ShowDocume nt/?documentID=1629.