The City of Racine Common Council passed an ordinance requiring the use of face coverings in specific situations within City limits. This ordinance took effect on Monday, July 27, 2020, at 8:00 a.m., and has been extended through Wednesday, June 30, 2021. 

Face Coverings & What You Need to Know

Face Covering

Face Covering – a uniform multi-layer piece of cloth, fabric, or other material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands. Face Coverings include, but are not limited to, medical masks and cloth masks, provided that they are worn such that they securely cover the person’s nose and mouth.

Public Space

Public Space – any indoor or outdoor space that is open to the public. This does not include any private residence, private residential property, or private offices or workspaces that are not open to customers or to public visitors.

Carry a Face Cover/Mask

You should carry a face cover/mask when you leave home, making sure to have enough for yourself and any children 5 years of age or older.

Individual Requirements

Individual Requirements – Persons age 5 and older within the City of Racine are required to wear a face-covering:

  • In any indoor public space.
  • In any outdoor public space when within six feet of any other person who is not a member of the person’s family or household.
  • When riding on public transportation or in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicles such as Uber or Lyft.
Business Requirements

Business Requirements – Businesses and other entities must require employees, customers, members of the public, and others to wear a face-covering when:

  • Employees are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether others are present at the time.
  • Employees who are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others.
  • Customers, visitors, members, or members of the public are in a facility managed or operated by the business, organization, or entity.
  • Employees are in any room or an enclosed area where other people, except for members of the same family or household, are unable to maintain a six-foot distance except for infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.

Exemptions – Face Coverings are not required in certain situations:

  • For children aged four years or under.
  • Persons who fall into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental disability, or are otherwise covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Persons who have upper-respiratory chronic conditions.
    Persons who are hearing impaired, or are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to view a person’s mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose, mouth, or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Persons who are seated at a place including, but not limited to, a school cafeteria, restaurant or other establishment that offers or permits food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided they maintain a six-foot distance between individuals, not including individuals who are members of the same family or household or are seated together, with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity, such as persons walking or passing by.
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulations or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Whenever federal, state or local law otherwise prohibit wearing a face mask or where it is necessary to evaluate or verify an individual’s identity.
  • Persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face-covering.
  • While exclusively with members of a family or the same household, and no person other than such family or household is within the same enclosed area.
  • In private, individual offices, when no other persons other than members of the same family or household are present.
  • While giving a religious, political, media, artistic, cultural, musical, theatrical, or other public presentation for an audience, a person may remove the face covering when actively speaking or performing. This exception applies to one person or to two persons if those persons reside within the same household and are able to maintain 6 feet distancing from other individuals at all times. While the face covering is removed, any speaker or performer must remain at least 6 feet away from all other persons at all times.

Why Face Coverings are Important

Racine face covering mask COVID-19

Wearing face coverings help protect those around you.

Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (older individuals and those with certain health conditions) and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants).


Face covers are most effective when we all wear them.

The spread of COVID-19 is reduced when face coverings are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be further reduced when other preventive measures, including physical or social distancing, frequent handwashing, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of touched surfaces, are used as well.

How to Get a Face Cover

Make Your Own

CDC has instructions for making your own mask, with both sew and no-sew instructions. For the no-sew option, you’ll need fabric (like an old t-shirt or cotton cloth), rubber bands or hair ties, and scissors.

Buy One

You can buy masks online and in retail stores like pharmacies, big-box retailers, grocery stores, and hardware stores. See this list of local retailers selling masks. Note: mask types, quantities, prices, and availabilities vary by the retailer; contact your preferred retailer with questions.

Get One from Your Community

Many crafty people have stepped up to make and donate masks in our community. Check your neighborhood groups on social media, Next Door, and other similar sites to see if someone near you is making face covers.

How to Get a Face Cover

We recommend cloth (reusable) face covers. They are better for the environment, generating less waste in the long run, and will be less expensive for you as they can simply be washed and reused.

Proper Use

  • Putting the Face Cover On
    • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
    • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
    • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
    • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Taking the Face Cover Off
    • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
    • Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
    • Fold outside corners together and dispose of the mask or place in a paper or zippered bag until it can be washed.
    • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after removing.
  • Washing or Disposing of Face Covers
    • Disposable, or single-use, face covers/masks should be used once and thrown away at the end of the day.
    • Reusable masks should be washed after each day of use.
      • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for washing store-bought cloth face covers. Generally, they can be included with your regular laundry or hand-washed by soaking for 5 minutes in a diluted bleach solution (5 Tablespoons bleach per gallon of water). Be sure to rinse well.
      • Dry your cloth face covers in a dryer on a high-heat setting, or lay flat and allow to air dry; place in direct sunlight, if possible, to aid in drying.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long to I need to wear a face covering?

Businesses operating multiple services must comply with the individual criteria established for each unique service (i.e. bar or restaurant components). Where there are conflicting specifications, the most restrictive applies. Reopening guidelines may be re-evaluated with respect to the emergency public health order.


Do I need to wear a mask indoors even if I can physical distance at all times?

Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.Yes, if you are with individuals not from your household or living unit.


Am I required to wear a mask when I am using public transportation, a taxi or a school bus?

Yes, you are required to wear a mask when driving or riding on public transportation or in a paratransit vehicle, a taxi, a private car service vehicle, a ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for-hire vehicle.


Do individuals that have already tested positive for COVID-19 still have to wear a mask?



When is a face covering not needed?

There are specific Exemptions laid out that explain when face coverings are not required. For instance, you do not need to wear one:

  • In a private residence or on private residential property. However, masks and social/physical distancing are strongly recommended when around others from outside your family or household.
  • If you are in a private office space with no one from outside your household present.
  • If you are seated in a restaurant and presently eating or drinking, as long as social/physical distancing is maintained between groups.

Do I need to carry a face covering when I leave home?

While you are not specifically required to do so, it’s a good idea to keep a face covering with you at all times so it’s ready to use in case you run into a situation where you would be required to wear it.


Do I need to wear a face covering while walking my dog, out for a jog, etc.

The ordinance does not require a face-covering outside unless you within six (6) feet of someone from outside your household. It’s a good idea to keep one with you in case you need it as if your dog’s leash gets tangled up with another dog or you run into a chatty neighbor.


Is my employer required to provide me with a face covering if I need to wear one at work?

No. However, employers may choose to provide their employees with face coverings to ensure that they are readily available, helping to cut down on lost work time.


I’m not able to wear face-covering for medical conditions, mental health reasons, or disability. Do I need documentation about why I can’t wear a face covering?



Are face shields considered a face covering?

No. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.


Can I wear a mask that has a valve?

Technically this meets the requirements of the ordinance because it covers your nose and mouth. However, we recommend not using this type of mask because droplets and particles can get through. We recommend a cloth face-covering instead or on top of a mask with a valve.


My goggles or glasses fog up when I wear a face covering. What can I do?

You may be able to solve this problem by placing a strip of medical tape along the top edge of the mask, securing it behind your glasses. See this article for other tips.


Is a space that has some open walls considered an outdoor space?

No, a space must be completely open on all sides to be outdoors. Opening windows does not create an outdoor space.


Are face coverings required inside gyms and yoga studios?

Yes. The ordinance provides the following exemption: Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.


Do I need to wear a face covering while swimming or in a pool?

No, this would be unsafe. A face covering should be used as you are coming to and going from the pool if using an indoor pool or if you’re outside and within six (6) feet of people from outside your household. Remember to maintain social/physical distancing while in the water.


I live in an apartment or condo with multiple units. Am I required to wear a face covering in the common areas (hallways, lobby, etc.)?

Yes. The ordinance requires you to wear a face-covering in any indoor space where other people, except for members of the person’s own household, could be present.


If I am in an enclosed office alone do I need to wear a face covering?

You would not need to use a face covering if you are along in an enclosed office space. However, if someone enters the office you are in, face coverings are required.


How do I wear a face covering while I’m eating or at a restaurant?

You can remove your face covering while eating and drinking. You should wear it when waiting for your food or if you leave the table, such as to use the restroom.


Are workers that sleep at their place of employment (for example: EMS, firefighters, paramedics) required to wear face coverings while sleeping?

No.  Social / physical distancing should be maintained.


What do I do if I see someone not wearing a face covering, even though they should be?

Nothing. Some people have conditions or circumstances that are not visible but would make wearing a face-covering difficult or dangerous. Just wear your face covering and maintain social/physical distancing.


How do I get my child to wear a face covering?

The ordinance requires children five and older to wear face coverings. It’s helpful to explain to kids why you’re asking them to do something. In this case, you can explain that wearing a face-covering will help keep them from getting other people sick. You may find it helpful to use specific examples, such as grandparents or family friends who are elderly and at greater risk. You can explain that the people they pass in the grocery store or doctor’s office might be another person’s grandparents, and we want to keep those grandparents safe. Purchasing masks in their favorite colors or featuring superheroes or other characters may help as well. See these tips from KidsHealth and Children’s Minnesota for other ideas.


Does my child need to wear a face covering on a school bus?

Yes, children five and older are required to wear a face-covering when riding on public transportation or in a school bus, paratransit vehicle, a taxi, a private car service vehicle, a ride-sharing vehicle, or any other for-hire vehicle.


Does my child need to wear a face covering to go to daycare?

Face coverings are required for children five years and older. Children younger than two should never wear a face-covering due to risk of suffocation. Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face-covering at all times when it is difficult to maintain distancing.


Are children required to wear face coverings during nap time?

No.  Physical distancing must be maintained.


Can I sign a waiver so my child does not need to wear a face covering at their child care or school?

No, signing a waiver will not supersede the ordinance. Exceptions are for those with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering.

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