The City of Racine Health Department Proposes Amendments to City’s “Mask” Ordinance

With statewide mandate gone, City ordinance clarifies rules for schools among others

City of Racine – Today, Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the City of Racine Public Health Administrator, proposed updates to the City’s “Mask” ordinance to clarify some provisions and rules for places, such as schools, now that the statewide mandate was eliminated by the State Supreme Court.

“With the elimination of the statewide mask order, it is important that we clarify our local ordinance to keep consistent rules in place to protect the health of our residents. In particular, the main clarification makes clear that face coverings are required in schools. With schools now open and recent evidence that shows that new strains of COVID-19 may be more infectious to the school age population, we must make sure we keep our kids safe and masks remain one of the most effective tools to do that,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator for the City of Racine.

Updates to the ordinance include the following:

  • Bandanas, scarves, and gaiters are removed from the definition of “face covering.”
  • School cafeterias are added to the list of establishments offering or permitting food service, thus providing an exception for the wearing of face coverings while eating or drinking there.
  • Masks will be required in government facilities, institutions of higher education, public and private kindergarten through twelfth grade schools, and licensed childcare or youth facilities.
  • An exception to wearing face coverings is added for persons giving a religious, political, media, artistic, cultural, musical, theatrical, or other public presentation for an audience when actively speaking or performing.
    • Note: 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.

“If schools are going to open back up to students, we must make sure we do everything we can to make the school environment as safe as possible. All of the best public health guidance recommends masks in schools, so we are taking this opportunity to clarify that in our ordinance. While we are encouraged by the number of people getting vaccinated, we are seeing an increase in the number of new cases and new COVID variants. It is imperative that we do not let our guard down too soon, and that is why these important updates are being proposed,” said Racine  Mayor Cory Mason.  

The “mask” ordinance will be on the agenda for consideration by the full Common Council at their meeting on Monday, April 19th. Unless extended by the Common Council, the ordinance is set to expire at the end of June. Questions about the ordinance can be directed to [email protected] or 262-636-9201.

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